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NHIF asked to suspend new reforms till consensus is reached

The  Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee for Health, Sabina Chege has asked the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to suspend their  new recommendations until an agreement is reached.

Chege said the new recommendations were rushed without input of the Parliamentary Committee thus the need to suspend implementation of the same.

She  faulted the NHIF Board for coming up with recommendations which are not supporting government’s agenda on provision of universal health care.

Speaking during Education Day at St. Emmanuel School in Kangari on Friday, the women representative said many Kenyans especially the poor will be affected by the new recommendations, noting that many will be unable to meet the new conditions.

She said NHIF is partly supported by the government and should not come up with recommendations which will deny Kenyans the right to access affordable health care.

“We had agreed as Parliamentary Committee to meet with NHIF before coming with the new recommendations but I was shocked they released them without our input,” stated Chege.

She noted that the committee has slated to meet the NHIF board on January 26 and is now asking the latter to suspend the new directives till that date.

Chege said there are many changes which need to be looked at like the Linda mama programme which said its time should be extended from six months to one year.

“The ministry of health has been allocated an addition of Sh.21 billion in the supplementary budget and we expect affordable health care to be provided in all levels of health facilities,” she added.

Chege  noted that they have instructed their clerk to write to the NHIF to suspend the reforms until they have a meeting with the Parliamentary Committee, adding that some of recommendations are not realistic and those who came up with them, may be not aware about the situation on the ground.

In  the new rules, members will have to wait for three months and pay full year’s contribution before being eligible for any benefits.

The  waiting period has been reviewed upwards from two to three months, something which many residents feel was unfriendly and will affect many people.

NHIF also reviewed its dependent’s terms by reducing the number of dependent children to five from current 10.

In  the new reforms, the national scheme also limited beneficiaries to one spouse, while additional dependents would only be included subject to extra premiums, which will be communicated after actuarial evaluation is done.

Chege  said the scheme should support the agenda of universal health care, saying after rolling out the Universal Health Coverage to all counties, provision of medical care from level 1 to 3 of public facilities will be free.

By  Bernard  Munyao

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