Health services utilization and costs of the insured and uninsured under the formal sector social health insurance scheme in Enugu metropolis South East Nigeria
Background: Health insurance is a social security system that aims to facilitate fair financing of health costs through pooling and judicious utilization of financial resources, in order to provide financial risk protections and cost burden sharing for people against high cost of healthcare through various prepayment methods prior to falling ill. It is still unclear how the Federal Social Health insurance program for federal civil servants has affected the insured and uninsured civil servants in terms of health services cost and utilization in Enugu metropolis.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to compare the health services utilization and cost of insured with that of the non.insured federal civil servants with a view to generate information for policymaking on improving services of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Materials and Methods: A comparative, descriptive, cross.sectional survey of both the insured and uninsured federal civil servants was conducted in Enugu metropolis. Respondents were purposively enrolled and were grouped according to their insurance status after signing the informed consent form. Comparative analysis of health services utilization,
satisfaction, and health services cost which include total cost, average cost, and catastrophic expenditures were done using SPSS version 17.0.
Results: There were 809 respondents; this comprised 451 insured and 358 uninsured respondents. There were 420 males (51.9%) and 389 females (48.1%). It was found that 657 respondents had at least easy access to health; this comprised 369 (56.7%) insured and 288 (43.3%) non-insured respondents while 70 (46%) of the non-insured and 82 (54%) of the insured civil servant had difficult access to health care (P = 0.620).
Conclusion: There are still federal civil servants yet to enroll into the formal sector social insurance program. The NHIS-insured civil servants have no appreciable advantage in terms of access to and cost of health services in Enugu metropolis.
Key words: Health insurance, health services utilization, insured