THE National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) has introduced ‘Ushirika Afya’ product that sponsors health services to Agricultural Marketing Co-operative Societies (Amcos) members.
This new service gives room to beneficiaries to offset their debts after selling their farm produce in the following harvest season.
The sponsor is the Tanzania Postal Bank (TPB), which signed the contract with the Nyanza Cooperative Union (NCU-1984 Limited) and NHIF, paying 76,800/- per head, for Amcos members who accept the Bank’s offer.
The NHIF Head of Compliance Department, Mr Paul Bulolo made the revelation this week during the NCU annual meeting, clarifying: “We did put in use this product since November last year, and over 802 Amcos members in the lake zone have already been covered so far. The aim is to promote and maintain healthy manpower in the agriculture sector, for individual and national interest.”
He further elaborated that the Bank pays for Amcos members immediately after one opts to join the health cover, and collects (TPB) back its money when farmers harvest in the next harvest season, even if (one) has joined the services during the harvest time.
A principal member is also free to access health insurance loans for his/her partner and under 18 children, according to Mr Bulolo, adding that a partner should pay the same amount (78,800/-) and 50,400 for a child, for a-12 month medical services.
Again, he added, Ushirika Afya members will be able to access any type of medical services, including major surgeries and full treatments for serious health conditions, including cancer and dialysis services for those facing kidney complications, at any health facility.
Members will also have access to medical treatment immediately after TPB has registered and paid, said Mr Bulolo adding: “NHIF is set to reach over 250 Amcos in the Lake zone, whose members are estimated to be 70,300. The prospective members should also know that the Bank’s sponsorship is continuous,” he said.
Asked for how long the Bank will be collecting back its money from Amcos members, NCU Board Chairperson, Mr Benjamin Mikomagwa responded that it is just a matter of negotiation, especially when one opts to engage the family members.
“Once proven unable to offset the whole amount at once, then the Bank will extend debt clearing time. It is because members’ income after selling their farm produce to the Union isn’t flat. But, it is clearly stated that if it is only 78,800/-, then one should offset it at once.”