Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Shoe is on the Other Foot

[Welcome Industry Radar readers!]

I imagine most of us have our share of spam email flooding our boxes every day.

The theme is usually grandiose. Pass this along to 10 people or your nose will fall off. Bill Gates wants to give you free software for life. Buy this pill and you can last all night in the bedroom and roar like a lion in the morning.

And of course there is a never ending flow of wealthy Nigerians who are promising to deposit millions in my bank.

This, in spite of the fact most Nigerians live on less than a dollar a day.

So it is almost ironic that a country that spams the world offering money for nothing would reject health insurance.

The National Health Insurance Scheme was introduced in 2005, but has not gained wide acceptance. Perhaps removing the word "scheme" from the plan might improve the odds . . .

Idowu, whose organisation went into health insurance 11 years ago, said, “We saw patients die because they did not have money to pay for health services. Eleven years ago, we decided that out-of-pocket for health expenditure was not the answer.”

Somehow this has a familiar ring.

Idowu said, “Some members of staff of such organisations make a lot of money from doctors, just to get their bills approved for payment. There are some that you have to give 10 per cent or 15 per cent before your cheque can be written.

Doctors demanding money from insureds? The very idea!

He also said that some beneficiaries also abused the scheme. The managing director said, “They are supposed to be registered with the wife and kids. When the mother or girlfriend is ill, they will take her to the hospital to use the wife’s card. When the neighbour’s child is ill, they would take him to the hospital to use the son’s card.”

Fraud and abuse?

Say it ain't so.

“Most Nigerians obtain insurance cover for their cars only because they don’t want the police to harass them and not because they believe they could have accidents. Indeed, if you tell any Nigerian that he or she could fall sick, he or she would be angry with you and forbid it ‘in the name of Jesus.’ So, if they buy insurance because they don’t want to be harassed and that they don’t believe they would have accident, how would you expect them to pay for health care when they are not ill?

Sounds like some of the excuses I have heard for not buying health insurance.

“There exists a religious group that believes that health insurance is equivalent to gambling.

Gambling is bad, but spamming is good?

What a country.
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