Economy

Parliament budget office backs Sh6000 NHIF fee plan

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Parliament buildings in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) has backed Treasury plans for each households make a compulsory Sh500 contribution to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) as the State lines up a health cover for all Kenyans.
  • PBO reckons that it should be compulsory for every Kenyan aged between 18 and 65 years to register for the NHIF cover as part of providing access to affordable medical care.
  • The unit that advises Members of Parliament on financial and economic affairs says that making the State-backed medical scheme compulsory for all Kenyans will form a key plank in the county’s roll-out of the Universal Health Care (UHC).

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) has backed Treasury plans for each households make a compulsory Sh500 contribution to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) as the State lines up a health cover for all Kenyans.

PBO reckons that it should be compulsory for every Kenyan aged between 18 and 65 years to register for the NHIF cover as part of providing access to affordable medical care.

The unit that advises Members of Parliament on financial and economic affairs says that making the State-backed medical scheme compulsory for all Kenyans will form a key plank in the county’s roll-out of the Universal Health Care (UHC).

Calls for the mandatory enrollment of all Kenyans aged at least 18 years comes at a time the National Treasury has said each household would part with Sh6,000 annually to be enrolled in UHC.

The scheme will cater for outpatient and inpatient services, including maternity, dialysis, cancer treatment and surgery.

The unit says the State should pay for NHIF membership for senior citizens (over 65 years) through a yet to be determined annual capitation.

The planned mandatory NHIF membership for all Kenyans will be an upgrade of the current scheme where only workers in the formal sector are compelled to join. The planned mandatory NHIF membership for all Kenyans will be an upgrade of the current scheme.

Currently, workers contributions range from Sh320 to a graduated scale of between Sh500 and Sh1,700 per month based on each worker’s monthly pay.

Kenya has prioritised the attainment of UHC by 2022 to end the low insurance penetration where a quarter of all Kenyans’ healthcare bills are paid out of pocket, according to the World Bank. This leaves many families vulnerable and reliant on debt and donations or disposal of assets such as livestock.

Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani said the Treasury secretary said the stage, with the collection of the beneficiaries’ data already underway. NHIF is the biggest health insurer in the country with a coverage of 15.8 percent.