Economy

Covid surge drives cost of healthcare to new high

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Summary

  • Statistics by the Central Bank of Kenya(CBK) show that health inflation hit an all-time high of 3.04 percent, signalling higher hospital bills at a time when Kenyans were struggling with job losses and lower incomes.
  • Insurance penetration declined to 2.34 percent of GDP and losses in the sector coupled with poorly capitalised companies forced Kenyans to spend out of pockets.
  • A quarter of all Kenyans healthcare bills are paid out of pocket, according to the World Bank which leaves families vulnerable when costs, rise hitting low income households hardest.

The cost of healthcare rose sharpest in October due to a surge in Covid-19 infections as more sectors of the economy reopened, new data shows.

Statistics by the Central Bank of Kenya(CBK) show that health inflation hit an all-time high of 3.04 percent, signalling higher hospital bills at a time when Kenyans were struggling with job losses and lower incomes.

Insurance penetration declined to 2.34 percent of GDP and losses in the sector coupled with poorly capitalised companies forced Kenyans to spend out of pockets.

A quarter of all Kenyans healthcare bills are paid out of pocket, according to the World Bank which leaves families vulnerable when costs, rise hitting low income households hardest.

Although the Insurance regulator ordered companies to settle all Covid-19 cases, increased claims against falling premiums, a sharp rise in policy cancellations and withdrawals by customers squeezed by the economic fallout from Covid-19, is pushing them into liquidity challenges.

Some have opted to find ways of convincing customers to adopt home-based care as opposed to going to the hospitals stating that limited bed space, catering and extra costs of staying in a hospital pushes up the average cost of managing coronavirus patients without complications to Sh600,000.

However home-based care for two weeks costs just a fraction of about Sh200,000 for two weeks.

Jubilee insurance for instance is offering customers virtual psychiatrists and doctors on call to undertake Coronavirus recovery from the comfort of their homes to reduce the cost of claims on the insurer.

The firm is also offering a care package of thermometer, a box of surgical masks, red disposable bags and prescribed medications and a drug delivery services for non-covid or chronic diseases.