Kenya banking on Sh300 a month NHIF contribution to spur uptake

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) in this picture taken on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Kenyans will pay Sh300 per month to the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) down from the current Sh500 in a bid to recruit more members into the scheme on the way to universal healthcare for all.

President William Ruto, in his Social Protection Conference 2023 official opening speech Tuesday said Kenya will ensure everyone has access to healthcare services by making NHIF contributions affordable.

Through NHIF, Dr Ruto says he will make Universal Health Coverage (UHC) a reality and liberate Kenyans from the threat of poverty that comes through out-of-pocket expenditure on health services.

“It will be possible beginning later this year to pay Sh300 and still keep the cover. We are in discussion with stakeholders in the sector to actualise the commitment I made to the people of Kenya to make NHIF contributions affordable for all,” said President Ruto.

Currently, the lowest contributors usually drawn from the informal sector remit Sh500 per month to the national health scheme while those in the formal sector contribute between Sh150 and Sh1,700 every month, depending on the salary scale.

The process of rolling more members to the NHIF has seen an upwards trajectory, hitting 12 million Kenyans joining the fund in the past decade.

NHIF data for the financial year ended June 2022 shows that membership grew to 15.4 million from 13.94 million attributed to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic which made many people vulnerable to other diseases.

The government last year announced its plans to restructure the NHIF from an individual contributory scheme to a household contribution model to grow the population under the cover.

At the same time, the President said the State is in the process of rolling out a programme that will see 100,000 community health volunteers across the country receive stipends as a means of bringing the people at the bottom of the pyramid onboard health services.

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