Tuesday, May 21, 2019
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Married women cry foul over NHIF double deductions

Married  women in the civil service have called on the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to abolish statutory
deductions on their part, for they were duly covered by their husband’s contributions under the same scheme, thus a double deduction.

The  employed wives said it was unfair for the national insurer to effect simultaneous deductions on couple’s salary.

They  spoke during a meeting where health financing Reforms experts’ panel on the transformation and repositioning of NHIF  met representatives of stakeholders of the Fund at the Administration Chapel in Kiambu town on Tuesday.

One of the participants, Mary Mwangi said she had never benefitted from her own NHIF cover as she had always used  her husband’s contributions.

“I keep wondering when I will ever use this medical cover because whenever I am indisposed, it is my husband who brings  his card to discharge me from hospital,” she while contributing.

Mwangi said even her children knew that whenever they fell ill, they were given their father’s card to use at the
hospital.

Another  civil servant,  Ann  Ngige echoed similar sentiments saying with the advent of online pay slips, she was pained  to  see the deductions whenever she downloaded her document.

Ngige  also noted that she had always used her husband’s card and whenever it exceeded the limit, they dip into their  pockets to clear the bills.

Sarah Njeru said that when she delivered recently and the baby was incubated because it was premature, her NHIF card was  only able to pay from the 10th day after delivery.

She added that since the baby remained in the incubator for a record three months, her husband’s employer had to chip in  with  some money to cover for drugs since the card only paid for admission.

On  her part, Maureen  Musyoka told the experts that if the insurance was to insist on double deductions from both the man and wife, then it should pay hospital bills for their children up to 30 years, as most of them at that time were not  economically able to foot their own medical bills.

“Owing  to the unemployment crisis that has bedeviled our country, there are no jobs for our children thus NHIF should  continue to give them medical cover,” she said.

During the meeting, Dr. Supa  Tunje  while leading the team of health experts called on the representatives of the various groups to make suggestions that would help the insurer improve on universal health coverage.

Representatives from the community, including women, youth, religious and political leaders, boda boda and matatu

operators, farmers’ associations and cooperative societies, people living with disabilities and the media gave their views and recommendations.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is one of the presidents Big 4 Agenda. The Kiambu sub-county Deputy County Commissioner, Kiarie Njuguna therefore told Kenyans to be vigilant so that they are not lured into making extra payment whenever they  used their NHIF cards to pay for treatment in accredited medical facilities.

By  Lydia  Shiloya

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