Private health care providers have announced plans to scrap all contracts with private health insurance companies across Nigeria from January 31, due to poor tariffs and huge debt backlogs.

The President, Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria (HCPAN), Dr Adeyeye Arigbagbuwo, while speaking at a news briefing, stated that reimbursement by the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) in private health insurance was abysmally low, as against the rising costs of health care goods and services.

He reiterated that healthcare providers suffer losses due to the disparity between what HMOs offered as a premium on enrollees and the increasing cost of services.

To avoid withdrawal of services, Arigbabuwo said the association wanted HMOs to adjust existing contract documents using HCPAN tariffs as a benchmark. He added that the association will no longer tolerate owing providers in excess of 30 days as such HMOs will be mandated to pay cumulative interests on such debts.

An enrollee of one of the HMOs in Lagos, Toke Yusuf, expressed fear that if private healthcare providers withdraw from private health insurance, it would affect the populace, as the HMOs have been of great benefit to her.

Mrs Yusuf expressed that she gave birth to two of her children through HMOs in a private hospital. She added that without health insurance, the family would not have been able to afford such facilities.

The chairman, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Lagos State chapter, Dr Makinde Akinlemibola, similarly said patients would suffer if private healthcare providers terminate their contracts with private health insurance companies by January 31 as they would have to pay out of pocket.

In his reaction, the President, Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN), Dr Leke Osunniyi, said HMOs are currently having a dialogue with the leadership of the healthcare providers (HCPAN) and require more time to resolve the matter amicably.

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