In a bold step towards improving access to quality healthcare in Nigeria, the Fontana Society has launched the Fontana Health Card – the first medical emergency health card in the country.
The Fontana Health Card is the brainchild of the Fontana Society, a private business and finance society founded in 2017 with a focus on providing support and networking opportunities for its members.
According to Anthony Kila, the president of the Fontana Society, the Fontana Health Card is designed to help cardholders pay for medical emergencies, needed medications, required tests and exams, and other allied services. The card can be used by cardholders or anyone of their choosing, including their family members. The aim is to provide access to quality healthcare for those who need it most, regardless of their ability to pay. With this card, the Fontana Society hopes to make a significant difference in the lives of its members and their loved ones.
“What we are unveiling is an emergency health card, the idea is to create a way for cardholders not to worry about anything at times of emergency about quality of health. This card is part of our solution to live our life in a way that we are not always desperate. We have created this product in a very user-centric way,” Kila said.
Kila explained that the annual subscription fee for the health card is N250,000, and that it can be used by a family of four or a group of friends. He added that the card can be paid for collectively by a group of people, with each person contributing their share of the subscription fee.
According to Kila, the subscription is valid for one year and if the cardholder does not use the card in that year, they will be upgraded for the following year. This means that they will be able to continue using the card for another year without paying an additional subscription fee.
“As a Fontana Health cardholder, accessing care is simple. You just use your card at any of our affiliated hospitals, diagnostics centres, and pharmacies and receive top-notch medical attention without concerns about financial constraints,” the Fontana president said.
Kila stressed that Fontana health care services are accessible to citizens across the country, regardless of class or social status. The only requirement for accessing the service is being a cardholder.
Kila also emphasised that the card is for emergencies, not for routine treatment. He also outlined three strategic principles that guide the Fontana card – it is seamless, sensible, and smart to use.
“So, you book this card online. The moment you pay for your card, you are covered, it becomes active. If you lose your physical card, it does not matter because everything is saved in the cloud,” he added.
To differentiate the Fontana health card from a health maintenance organisation (HMO), Kila explained that while an HMO is a general health plan that covers all aspects of health, the Fontana health card is specifically for emergencies. In addition, the Fontana card benefits not only the cardholder but also the beneficiaries they choose. By contrast, an HMO typically only benefits the individual who holds the plan. Kila believes that this is one of the key differences between the Fontana card and an HMO.
“HMOs have some restrictions that this one does not have. If you hold an HMO, you will need authorisation to use it, but this one doesn’t need that,” he stressed.
Kila commended the hospitals, pharmacies, diagnostic centers, and other healthcare providers who were quick to grasp the vision of the Fontana health card and able to meet the required standards to participate in the program. He expressed his gratitude for their commitment to providing quality healthcare services and their willingness to partner with Fontana to make a positive impact on the lives of cardholders.
Fola Rogers, the business director of the Fontana health card, underscored the importance of the card at a time when medical bills are high.
“This is an initiative that would cater for any emergency without you having funds at hand. As long as you are a card holder, you will be attended to. There are so many hospitals that will sign up to do that,” he said.
Rogers explained that the initiative will provide peace of mind to many Nigerians who do not have financial capacity to cater for emergency health issues.
The Fontana business director also noted that the card can be accessed by every Nigerian, as it is technology based and very easy to use, regardless of the social class to which one belongs.
“You do not have to carry millions of Naira in your account before you can access the card. It is as basic as accessing any healthcare as long as you have registered and you are a card carrier,” Rogers added.