National Hospital Insurance Fund New Rules Draws Anger among Kenyans

Affordable and quality health care is the dream of every taxpayer in any country. However, cross to four Kenyans in every five-fear lack of proper medical attention. This is due to the lack of insurance to cover them in case of serious illnesses or even accidents. Having ill-health is one of the facts contributing to the delay of any country achieving its set goals on sustainable development goals. For this reason, the National Hospital Insurance Fund has been in the front line in helping Kenyans citizens in getting quality health care.


The scheme gives the citizens a chance to secure their health at a monthly fee. It has been catering for the spouses and children up to ten, having an outpatient of your choice and any inpatient facility. However, the National Hospital Insurance Fund board, after seating in December, came up with new regulations. The new changes were to take effect on 1st January. This move has, however, brought a lot of opposition as it tends to be oppressing the citizens more.


The New 2020 National Hospital Insurance Fund regulations.


According to the new NHIF regulations 2020, whose implementation started early this year, it makes it a requirement for any self-employed to do an annual subscription of six thousand. This happens during registration and will have to wait for the next six months before he can start benefiting from the fund.  Another rule states that only a spouse and five children maximum can be added as the dependents.” additional dependents can be included subject to payment of additional premiums to be communicated after actual variations. “The circular explained.


The member will have to register again if he defaults paying for one year and above. The member will then have to wait up to three months before becoming eligible to benefit from the fund. For specialized services and maternity, the dependent will be put to six months waiting period. However, vulnerable groups like the elderly, free maternity, health insurance subsidy programs and persons with disabilities are exempted in the new changes


Parliament stands on the new regulations


Several groups, including Parliament health committee, has opposed the implementation of the said regulations. Lead by the committee chairperson. Hon Sabina Chege. They say that the board did not follow the correct procedure while issuing of the said regulations. They argue that the new rules will increase more problems for the citizens who are already paying more. She also added the board did not pass the regulation to the committee as it should be.


Terming the move by the board as illegal. The Gilgil member of parliament said that the board should have consulted further before settling on such rules. She also noted that the implementation of those rules in such a difficult economic time in Kenya would only bring a backlash. “There was no public participation. The board consulted no one, and this is a blatant violation of the legal instruments already in place.” She said.


On a tweet, Starehe member of parliament. Hon Charles Jaguar tweeted, “Arbitrary changes to NHIF rules will affect these Kenyans and their families. The changes are unacceptable because they limit access to health care services among low-income families.”


COTU input on the new regulations


COTU, on its side through its Deputy secretary-general in a news conference, stated that the workers union had not consulted. He said the union would work towards ensuring the rules reversed, thus calling upon the National Hospital Insurance Fund to suspend the regulations.


The deputy sec general Benson Okwaro further said, “In COTU’s view, these changes are unitive, retrogressive, irresponsible, and pushed by individuals hell-bent on suffocating the smooth operations at NHIF and at the same time aimed at frustrating workers who religiously contribute to the fund.” He argued, ‘The mismanagement of fund in the parastatal is to blame. Thus, the regulations are just a plan by the board to do a cover-up of their mess.


It is, therefore, the prayer of every Kenyan taxpayer that this happen and the necessary changes put in place immediately. It is every citizen’s right to get affordable health care by straining too much for it. Failure to do this, the ordinary citizen will continue to suffer more.


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