NHIMA Consults With HEA

The National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) recently held a consultative meeting with the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on the implementation of the student health insurance plan under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

NHIMA was established by the enactment of National Health Insurance Act No. 2 of 2018 and is supported by Statutory Instrument No. 63 of 2019, with the functions, amongst others, of implementing and operating NHIS, managing the National Health Insurance Fund, and accrediting health insurance healthcare providers.

Thus, the NHIS, which was effective from 1st October, 2019, is a risk mitigation mechanism by which the insured is protected against financial catastrophe resulting from medical expenses.

Therefore, the NHIS aims at complementing efforts towards Universal Health Coverage by introducing innovative financing solutions for health care, providing quality affordable and sustainable health care, and expanding provision of insured health services to all citizens and established residents.

To this effect, under the NHIS, NHIMA will be implementing a Student Insurance Plan that will cover students in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), international students and international scholars on exchange programs. The Student Insurance Plan will have mandatory enrolment of the student through the HEI, with each student paying a fee of K375.00 per semester.

The Student Insurance Plan benefits include outpatient services, hospitalisation, physiotherapy, prescription drugs, dental care, maternity, family planning, blood transfusion, psychiatric services, rehab services, and vision care at accredited public and private health providers countrywide.

Speaking during the meeting, NHIMA Director General, Mr. James Kapesa, noted that the student insurance package was critical and, thus, NHIMA’s collaboration with HEA would ensure its smooth and successful execution in HEIs countrywide.

“It will be vital to form a working group (between HEA and NHIMA) that will make it easy to share data and refine the numbers based on the actual students admitted to the HEIs,” Mr. Kapesa said.

In thanking the NHIMA Director General and his entourage for their visit and presentation, HEA Director General, Prof. Stephen Simukanga, reiterated the need for the working group between the Authorities, adding that the working group should be spearheaded by NHIMA and include the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA), Teaching council of Zambia (TCZ), General Nursing Council of Zambia (GNCZ), and the Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ), amongst other institution stakeholders.

“We need to have a clear direction of how students will be engaged and sensitised even as we engage and sensitise the institutions through which this levy will be collected,” Prof. Simukanga said.

Furthermore, Prof. Simukanga stated that it would be ideal for the two Authorities to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to operationalise the working relationship of the Authorities.