Low income earners in Kenya could soon have something to smile about as a proposal to cut the rate of monthly National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) premiums goes to Parliament for consideration.
The move is part of the bid to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which is also one of the government’s Big Four Agenda the rate is set to be reduced from the current Kes 500 to Kes 300.
“The proposed amendment is intended to ensure that many Kenyans particularly persons who are in the informal sector, those not working and indigents can afford to pay the NHIF contribution by reducing the rate from the current Ksh 500 per month to Kes 300,” read part of the proposed Bill.
If adopted by MPs, NHIF membership will be compulsory for every adult in Kenya contributing Sh500 every month or Kes6,000 annually.
The majority of Kenyans, especially those who earn a low income, lack medical insurance hence resort to paying hospital bills out of their pockets.
In a July report by the national insurer, the CEO Peter Kamunyo said an estimated five million Kenyans were unable to pay their monthly premiums, placing their families at risk, especially the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Kamunyo pointed out that over half of their member’s accounts had been declared dormant after failing to continue funding them, adding that most Kenyans opted to remit the monthly NHIF pays only when it suited them.
“The majority who have remained active have a history of chronic illnesses, and the insurance is a relief for them. The ones who stay are those on chronic treatment such as dialysis. They pay Kes 6,000 for the family and get up to Kes 935,000 every year,” Kamunyo stated.
NHIF had also promised to cut down payment for specialized services such as surgeries, rehabilitation for drugs and substance abuse, emergency road evacuation, and imaging services such as X-RAYS, CT scans, and MRI.