Employees of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) will be required to reapply for jobs when the 57-year-old State agency is split into three outfits as part of planned reforms to make it more effective.
The Social Health Insurance Bill 2023, which seeks to disband NHIF and create a Social Health Authority to administer three funds, says in the transitional clauses that the new Authority will take over all NHIF assets but only absorb its workers based on merit.
The NHIF workers willing to serve under the Social Health Authority that will be in charge of three funds—primary healthcare fund, healthcare fund, and emergency, chronic, and critical illness fund— will have to make fresh applications.
“The board of the Social Health Authority --- shall competitively recruit and appoint its staff ---- subject to the approved staff establishment and on such terms and conditions of service as may be determined by the board,” reads the bill in part. “The staff of the Fund [NHIF] are eligible to apply for the positions advertised by the authority and may be considered for appointment where they are suitably qualified for the positions advertised.”
NHIF has over 1,800 employees and it is not clear what will be the staff size of the three funds that will succeed it if the bill is passed into law.
The Bill says the NHIF staff not appointed by the authority will have to either retire from public service or be redeployed elsewhere.
The government wants to use the three funds to run the Universal Healthcare (UHC) programme that promises affordable healthcare for all Kenyans.