On the 9th of April 2018, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu signed a bill that has led to the introduction of National Health Insurance. The National Health Insurance Act of 2018, states that all citizens must contribute to a public run national health scheme managed by the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA). Contributions are set at 1% of the beneficiary’s salary. It will work similar to NAPSA, with both the employee and employer contributing 1% each.
Late last year, civil servants were the first to be enrolled. This year, NHIMA has intensified its efforts to enrol people working in the private sector. The NHI is welcome for a number of reasons. In 2016, a report by the Ministry of Health, the Central Statistics Office (now known as Zambia Statistics Agency) and cooperating revealed that only 3.6% of Zambians have some form of health insurance. The remaining 96% are left to rely on direct payments when paying for the health services they need. The downside to direct payments is that they can have serious financial implications, especially on poor families. It is hoped that with its introduction, the NHI will help to ensure that all Zambians would have access to quality health services they need. However, little is known about National Health Insurance and how it works?