SHIF deductions fixed for July 1 in new U-turn


Timothy Olweny Chairman of the Social Health Authority (SHA) addresses the media at NHIF Building on March 5, 2024. PHOTO | WILFRED NYANGARESI | NMG

Kenyans will now pay 2.75 percent of their gross salaries to the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) from July 1 in yet another U-turn from the date initially announced by the Ministry of Health.

The new date appears in the final Social Health Insurance (General) Regulations, 2024, which also stipulate that the registration of members to the SHIF should be completed by June 30.

Timothy Olweny, chairman of the Social Health Authority (SHA), confirmed the changes.

"Payment of contributions and access to health services under the Act and these regulations will commence on July 1, 2024," the regulations read.

"Upon the coming into force of these regulations, every person resident in Kenya shall apply to the Authority for registration as a member of the Social Health Insurance Fund in terms of Section 26(1) of the Act not later than 30 June 2024," they state.

This puts to an end the uncertainty that has swirled around when the deductions will start.

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha had earlier announced that SHIF deductions would start in March, then changed to July before reverting to March.

She further stated that the services would be available from July.

"Once the regulations are gazetted, they will come into effect, and the deductions will start at the end of the month, which is the end of March," Ms Nakhumicha said.

"Our projection is that from this month of March, we need three months to prepare ourselves, we need a digital system to do the registration, we need to test it and then collect the funds from the new financial year which is July, now Kenyans can start accessing services," she had said.

As Kenyans prepare for the transition to the new scheme, the ministry is yet to start registration and means testing to identify vulnerable households that need financial support and for whom the national or county government is responsible for paying the monthly contributions/premiums.

"We will announce the date when the registration will start, it will be soon. We hope that means-testing will be incorporated into the registration process," said Dr Olweny.

Robert Pukose, the chairman of the National Assembly's Health Committee, had said Kenyans would continue to contribute to the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), noting that the deadline would be in December.

"We have a transitional clause that allows Kenyans to continue contributing to the NHIF for a period of one year. The NHIF fund will cease to operate in December this year and SHIF will take over," Dr Pukose said.

Under the NHIF, the ceiling is Sh1,700, a figure that will go up several times for certain cadres of top-earners.

While the non-salaried people are paying Sh500 monthly for NHIF, this will drop to Sh300 under the new regime.

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