The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said it would continue to advocate the inclusion of retirees, both in the private and public sectors, in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Its Assistant General Secretary, Mr Chris Onyeka, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.
Onyeka, who noted that the new health insurance bill signed into law on May 19, 2022 sought for a universal health insurance coverage, saying “it therefore, meant everybody was covered including retirees.”
According to him, if such act is in place and operational, then the issue of health insurance for retirees would have been laid to rest because there is a framework already in place that captures them.
“That is the dream of every trade union leader: to ensure that everybody gets coverage; so, there is one thing to make law, it is another thing to operationalise it.
“The problem we have now is that of operationalising it especially funding the scheme itself has to be worked out. Although, it is also included in the law how the scheme will be funded, but it has not become fully operational.
“Therefore, as trade unions, we will have to continue advocating and pushing for the implementation of the universal health insurance scheme. Also, we will advocate a targeted health insurance scheme for pensioners or retirees: that is also part of our responsibility.
“Trade unions exist to articulate, protect, and project the rights and privileges of workers wherever they may be,” he said.
The labour leader, however, said what was key was the issue of improved social security and protection for retirees.
According to him, if there is a robust social. protection system, it will also guarantee greater access of pensioners to the health benefits.
“It is all about protecting the vulnerable. In the private sector, they have more pensioners or retirees who are covered after retirement. We will continue our advocacy outreach to ensure they are included in the health insurance scheme,” he said.