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10 Affordable Health Finance Planning: A Guide for Nigerians

 

By Daniel Asikpo Aug 23, 2023

 

Basics entail the primary human needs to be food, shelter and clothing. One should not underestimate the need for good health as health itself cuts into these three primary needs. Meeting these primary needs can further be expanded to eating healthy food, staying in healthy sheltered environments and keeping healthy personal hygiene in terms of clothing.

 

Image representation of health finance planning

 

Access to quality healthcare is a fundamental right for every individual, regardless of their socio-economic status. In Nigeria, a country with a growing population and diverse healthcare challenges, affordable health finance planning plays a crucial role in ensuring that people can access medical services without falling into financial hardship.

 

This article aims to provide insights into effective strategies for Nigerians to plan for healthcare expenses while maintaining financial stability. 

 

Healthcare Overview in Nigeria

 

Though Nigeria's healthcare system is a mix of public and private services, many challenges persist, including inadequate infrastructure, limited access to quality care in rural areas, and high out-of-pocket payments for medical services. 

 

Health insurance coverage remains low, with a continuous increase in products and services in the country aside from the health sector. This results in a high standard of living, leaving a significant portion of the population vulnerable to unexpected healthcare expenses. 

 

10 Affordable Health Finance Planning

 

1. Preventive Care and Healthy Lifestyle

 

I prefer starting with this because it is the best way to reduce health expenses.  Prevention is better than cure is a renowned proverb in Nigerian society. Adding to that, one would also say,  "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". By adopting a healthy lifestyle and practising preventive care, Nigerians can reduce the likelihood of severe health issues that require expensive treatments. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine medical check-ups can contribute to better overall health and fewer healthcare expenses in the long run.

 

2.  Health Insurance

 

Health insurance is a crucial component of affordable health finance planning. It provides a safety net against unexpected medical expenses, making it easier to access necessary medical care without worrying about the financial implications. 

 

Nigerians should explore various health insurance options, including government-sponsored programs, private insurers, and community-based health schemes. Comparing plans based on coverage, premiums, and network of hospitals can help individuals find the best fit for their needs.

 

3. Savings and Emergency Funds

 

When one is prepared it's difficult to be caught off guard. Emergent medical attention can be a pain to the neck. Setting aside a portion of your income for healthcare expenses is a prudent strategy. Creating a dedicated healthcare savings account or an emergency fund can help you budget and manage unforeseen medical costs effectively. 

 

Regular contributions to this fund ensure that you have a financial backup in times of need, reducing the stress associated with medical emergencies.

 

4. Government Health Programs and Initiatives

 

Nigeria has various government health programs and initiatives aimed at improving access to healthcare services. Keep your ears on the ground for current free health care services provided by the government. One of the easy ways to be updated is by listening to health programs on the radio or watching on the television. 

 

These initiatives often target vulnerable populations and provide subsidized or free medical services. Staying informed about these programs and taking advantage of them can significantly reduce healthcare costs.

 

5. Telemedicine and Digital Health Platforms

 

The introduction of technology in the health sector has played a vital role even with helping with proper finance and health planning. The rise of telemedicine and digital health platforms has made healthcare more accessible and cost-effective. Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, refers to the remote delivery of medical services and consultations using telecommunications technology. 

 

Nigeria, with its vast and diverse population, stands to gain significantly from the integration of telemedicine into its healthcare system. The challenges of inadequate healthcare infrastructure, uneven distribution of medical professionals, and long travel distances in the country can be partially mitigated through telemedicine solutions. 

 

Nigerians can consult doctors remotely, get prescriptions, and receive medical advice without the need for physical visits. This approach can save both time and money, making it an excellent option for non-urgent medical concerns.

 

6. Generic Medications

 

Choosing generic medications instead of brand-name drugs can lead to substantial savings. Generic drugs have the same active ingredients and are equally effective but are typically more affordable.

 

Generic medications play a crucial role in providing affordable and accessible healthcare options to patients while maintaining high standards of quality and safety. Consulting with a doctor to discuss suitable generic alternatives can be an effective way to cut down on medication costs.

 

7 Negotiating Medical Bills

 

Yes, most healthcare services are negotiable.  In cases where medical treatment is required, it's worth negotiating medical bills, especially for elective procedures or out-of-pocket expenses. Do well to inquire about discounts, payment plans, or cost-reduction options with healthcare providers or hospitals. Let them know your budget so that they can prescribe an affordable yet efficient drug to solve a medical condition.

 

8. Community Health Schemes

 

Good enough, some communities or workplaces have health schemes that pool resources to provide healthcare coverage. If you happen to live or work in such places, don't fail to benefit from the health services. 

 

Some of these schemes go ahead to provide additional financial support during medical emergencies which in turn helps in your health expenses reduction.

 

9. Build a relationship with a doctor or medical experts

 

This should not be surprising, it is advisable to have a doctor or medical expert friend. They will help you with proper medication options. In case you plan to buy from a local clinic or pharmacy, it is best to contact them first to explain your current situation. 

 

They will help in prescribing first aid treatments and giving you free hints and foreknowledge of drugs you should request for on reaching there. This helps shape your budget and reduces additional money that would have been used as expenses.

 

10. Join social health Communities/forums

 

There are several health communities and forums which can be easily accessed via social networks. Here you can meet people with experience in several health challenges and how they handled it. It also exposes you to trending health issues which can help you be more preventive instead of being a victim and opting for a cure which is expensive. 

 

In conclusion, I will say, that health is wealth and your well-being is primary as it entails how far one can aim to achieve goals. Without good health, it becomes difficult to run day-to-day activities, especially business and jobs. This does not mean you should overspend in this sector. There is always a need to cut down cost especially when everything in the country (products and services) continue to be skyrocketing in terms of price.

 

 

 
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