The new NHIF rules and regulations have been received with mixed reactions from the residents of West Pokot County who now feel that it will leave most of its members stranded.
This comes after the medical insurer announced a review of its terms that will limit the number of dependants per card to a maximum of one spouse and five children, waiting period of 90 days for voluntary members, a fine of 50 percent for late payment among others.
According to Joel Ruto, a resident of the County and NHIF contributor said this new rule will punish those in polygamous families and many of them might opt out.
Ruto who is married to one wife with one child looks comfortable with the new rules, but he expressed concern for the old generation of the Pokot community as it has been embracing large families with men marrying more than one wife.
“Our fathers used to count children as wealth which led them into marrying many wives and we still have some of our young practicing polygamy. Also in our community a person with one wife can have more than seven children,” said Ruto
On the other hand, Mike Simiyu, a casual laborer admits that NHIF helps a lot in times of emergencies but personally, he was not in the scheme.
“NHIF assist both the poor and the rich and some of casual workers were in the process of joining the scheme, but the new rules and will lock out many potential clients. We hope the government will reconsider the move,” said Simiyu
On the other hand, Sengwer minority Chairperson, Dickson Rotich pointed out that the new measures will make it difficult for the common mwananchi to access quality health care services.
“Previously the scheme meant good for Kenyans but now with the introduction of new measures the poor will be left out without any other alternative,” said Rotich.
According to the NHIF, the move was aimed at attaining sustainable universal health coverage to enhance member retention, but many of the Kenyans have opposed the move.
However, despite the challenges the county residents still feel the importance of the medical scheme and are now urging the relevant authorities to ensure NHIF terms are made favorable to everyone, including the low income and voluntary members.
By KNA Team