Kenyans will start paying 2.75 percent of their pay to the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) from March 1, 2024, in what will see contributions for top earners rise by more than eight times, as the government moves to implement the controversial universal health coverage.
Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Nakhumicha says the elderly, people living with disabilities and other vulnerable groups will access free services as the Kenya Kwanza administration will cater for their package.
“We have those who cannot afford Sh300. We have the elderly, people living with disabilities who cannot raise the monies . . . for this category, the government will cater for their insurance cover,” said the CS at a church event in Kwanza Sub-county of Trans Nzoia on Sunday.
The 2.75 percent has not been capped at a maximum of Sh5,000 as promised earlier by several State officials including Ms Nakhumicha, a development that will see deductions from top earners rise sharply.
For the salaried people earning up to Sh30,000 a month, there is going to be a drop of between three percent and 45 percent in contributions as those earning above Sh30,000 to Sh100,000 will see a rise in contributions by between one percent and 77 percent. Those earning above Sh100,000 will see even steeper deductions.
Salaried workers earning Sh100,000 will be paying Sh2,750, up from the current 1,700, representing a 62 percent rise. Those drawing half a million shillings gross pay will see their deductions rise eight times to Sh13,750 unless a cap is introduced.
Ms Nakhumicha says about 54 percent of Kenyans will contribute Sh300 to the cover, with the rest of higher earners to pay more.
“We have problems in the health sector where Kenyans went to hospitals and were told there were no drugs. We are currently concluding the public participation on the new regulations. These regulations will ensure that Kenyans have access to personnel, medicine and equipment in the nearest health centres that they seek attention,” said the CS.
She also said that the new regulations will also mean that those diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as cancer, hypertension and diabetes will be covered through the ‘Emergency chronic and critical fund.’
“Some of the leaders have come to my office asking me to waive hospital bills for patients diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as cancer. If we waive these hospital bills, these hospitals will collapse. . . that is why we set up this fund to support our health care,” explained the CS.
She also hinted at reforms in the Linda Mama programme, for it to cover families (children and husband).
The CS has previously stated that the new regulations will address the limitations observed in the National Health Insurance Fund by prioritising equitable access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare services for all Kenyans.
SHIF is part of a comprehensive healthcare reform package that includes the Digital Health Act, Primary Health Care Act and the Facility Improvement Financing Act.
Recently, the CS, said that most Kenyans like many countries in the world, are overburdened by medical conditions such as cancer, hypertension and diabetes and the new fund will address this.
Last week, the National Assembly Committee on Health chairperson Dr Robert Pukose stated that Kenyans will continue to make their contributions to the NHIF, noting that the period will lapse in December.
“We have a transitional clause that allows Kenyans to make their contributions to NHIF for a one-year period. The NHIF fund will cease to be operational in December this year and the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) will take over… this week, a transitional committee was announced to handle the transition from NHIF to SHIF,” stated Dr Pukose.