Suya, Health Insurance And You


Published: June 2, 2014

Imagine you treat the family to 10 suya sticks every Friday night. One fateful Friday, you find out that the suya price has doubled. How many suya sticks will you buy? I would guess that most budget-conscious people will buy less than the 10 suya sticks they are accustomed to.

Now imagine, your child develops a condition and must take a particular medication for 60 days. One day, the price of the drug doubles? What will you do? Surely, you will exhaust your savings to make sure your child gets the necessary medical care.

Let’s face it. We don’t purchase health products and services the same way we purchase other things.

You have heard the stories. Someone’s child has a medical emergency. The once financially independent parents are now scrambling to find enough money to pay for the medical bills. Test scans, doctor’s visits, prescription drugs… all the costs add up.

You have heard the story of a relative who has a small medical problem. You’ve asked them to go see a doctor over and over but the fear of the medical bill keeps them from going. Eventually, the once small problem becomes a critical medical episode and a heavy financial burden.


The stress of being sick or having a sick loved one is compounded by the financial stress caused by the uncertainty of paying the high cost of medical care.

You can protect you and your family from this financial stress by purchasing health insurance. Before we dive into the specifics, let’s discuss the three reasons I often hear for not purchasing health insurance:

Reason 1: I can’t afford it.
Health insurance comes in different shapes and sizes. Shop around. Chances are you can find a health insurance plan that fits your budget.

Reason 2: If my family ends up not needing medical services, I don’t get anything for purchasing insurance.

Consider this – when you purchase health insurance, you’re not buying health services. You’re purchasing peace of mind. The peace of mind that if your family was to need medical care, you’d be able to afford it. Whether or not you actually end up needing medical care, you still get the peace of mind.

Reason 3: Buying health insurance invites bad health.
Simply put, it doesn’t.

The most common form of health insurance found in Nigeria is the Health Management Organization (HMO).

HMOs do the following for their customers:
a) HMOs contract with physicians groups that provide medical care to you and your family
b) HMOs contract with hospitals you can use when needed
c) Customer pays based on a price list negotiated by the HMO

You are essentially covered if you stay with your assigned doctor group and the network of contracted hospitals.

After you join an HMO, be sure that you and your family visit your doctors for yearly medical check-ups. This not only keeps you healthy, it allows your doctor to get to know you well and better handle your health in the long term.

If you’re lucky to have health insurance offered by your employer, make sure you sign up. Coverage is often at little or no cost to you.

If you’re not covered by NHIS or your employer, contact an HMO to get a coverage quote. A list of accredited HMO can be found on the NHIS website.

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About Dike Kalu

Dike has undergraduate degrees in Finance and Insurance and a graduate degree in Economics. He has several years experience in the employee benefits consulting industry. You can follow him on Twitter at @dikekalu or view his website at

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