TANZANIANS will soon start accessing new health insurance packages designed by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to attract more people to join the scheme depending on their financial ability.
NHIF Public Relations Manager Angela Mziray told the ‘Sunday News’ at the weekend that the process was in an advanced stage and it was expected to be concluded this month.
The fund announced last year that it would introduce new health scheme packages that would allow more people to join the health scheme depending on their financial ability.
“This is a huge plan, which will allow more people to join the health insurance scheme, especially those, who were unable to access health services due to limited financial possibilities,” Ms Mziray noted. She added that the entire process had involved different authorities such as the Ministry of Health, Community Development Gender, Elderly and Children that also gave their views to improve the packages.
“After NHIF comes up with recommendations it consults other authorities for further improvements.
This process is now in final stages and we expect it will be concluded early or late this month,” Ms Mziray insisted. She, however, noted that views from various stakeholders were taken into consideration during preparations for the new packages.
“We started collecting views from NHIF members a long time ago and their views resulted in the introduction of the new packages that will enable individuals to join the health scheme depending on their financial ability,” Ms Mziray said.
Ms Mziray said the introduction of the new packages was in line with the government’s intention to extend the health insurance cover to the majority of Tanzanians, who had been missing out on health services.
At a meeting with reporters in Dar es Salaam late last year, NHIF Acting Director General Mbaruku Magawa said the packages would provide a wide range of choices and enable Tanzanians to contribute depending on their financial ability and increase the health insurance coverage.
“The packages will allow a person to decide whether to join as an individual or include a number of beneficiaries of his/her choice... this is very critical because it widens the choice of beneficiaries,” he noted.
He explained that the packages had been designed taking into account people’s needs, income and treatment cost, adding that the plan was set to take off soon.
A report released last year by religious leaders under the umbrella of Interfaith Tanzania, including the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), Bakwata and the CCT indicated that 64 per cent of Tanzanians had no health insurance cover.
Statistics show that 32 per cent of Tanzanians have health insurance cover, 8 per cent are members of NHIF, 23 per cent are members of Community Health Fund (CHF), while 1 per cent are members of private health insurance companies.