My wife and I had intended to wait for a year before having our first child so that we could get to know each other and have loads of fun on our own before the kids came and so we were pleasantly surprised when a trip to the hospital to treat what presented as a fever led to a pregnancy test which turned out positive and voila! we were expecting our first child. While a number of things crossed my mind at the time (read bills, bills, bills), one thing that I had learned over time was the importance of quality healthcare especially through the journey of pregnancy and child birth.
“Maternal mortality is the death of a woman while pregnant irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management. While infant mortality rate is the rate children die at birth or shortly after birth”
Nigeria has a very high maternal and infant mortality rate (about 14% of the world’s maternal mortality deaths) and I deduced from this report that up to 2,600 children die within the first 24 hours from preventable and often treatable causes. I therefore decided long ago that I would not cut corners whenever it came to accessing quality healthcare and decided to shop for alternatives to the kind of health cover I enjoyed under my former employer. This turned out to be surprisingly easy as I was able to narrow down to a health package that provided all of the maternity benefits (antenatal, delivery and postnatal care) just by “knowing” and asking the right questions. I ended up paying a fraction of what this service would cost if I walked into a top tier hospital as a private patient.
Cost of the health insurance premium we purchased (with access to a premium hospital) = ₦450,000 (about $1,250)
Estimated cost of the same service if we had paid out of pocket at the same hospital = ₦1,800,000 (about $5,000)
To say that this was a great bargain would be an understatement. The calculation above showed that I saved about 75% of the actual cost of the service at a premium hospital and with flexible payment options provided by the health insurance company.