Respite for workers as SHIF deductions deferred to July


Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha speaks during a mass at St Andrews Kaggwa Catholic Church in Kwanza Constituency, Trans Nzoia County on February 11, 2024. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

Workers can breathe a sigh of relief after Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Nakhumicha Monday deferred the commencement of deductions towards the new Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) to July.

The deductions were initially scheduled to begin in the first week of March.

Ms Nakhumicha said registration of members on the new fund, which is replacing the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), will now take place between March and June 30.

“Our aim as a ministry is to commence registration from the first week of march and this will go on up to June and thereafter, we intend to begin contributions at a rate of 2.75 per cent with a minimum payment of Sh300. Our hope is that access to these benefits will start in the month of July,” she said.

Members previously registered under the defunct NHIF will be required to register afresh for the new social health scheme.

During a national validation exercise held yesterday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), the CS said that many Kenyans have welcomed the new regulations.

“We have received a lot of feedback from different stakeholders, and they have rated the new regulations at 75 to 80 percent, sufficient to implement the Social Health Authority Act, under which Kenyans will pay 2.75 per cent of their household income to SHIF," she said.

Some of the issues that have come up include the mean testing tool that will be used to determine how much non- salaried contributors will pay into the fund.

Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki, who also chairs Health Committee at the Council of Governors, said the devolved units should be incorporated into the transition committee that will oversee the transition from NHIF to SHIF.

He also lamented that the issue of claims to public hospitals be addressed with speed, noting that most of the beneficiaries of claims may be private hospitals as was with NHIF.

He urged the national government to streamline the rollout of the Primary Healthcare Fund to ensure that it benefits both the public and private sector. Responding to the concerns by the county governments and representatives of other bodies, Ms Nakhumicha said that the concerns will be addressed before presenting the regulations to the Parliament for approval.

“We are working very hard to ensure that Kenyans don’t even notice the changeover. I think we were running very fast, and my team was working with a target of March 1,” she said.

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