Health insurance data reveal the age-relate disease burden in Kenya

Health insurance uptake is highest among Kenyans aged 50 and above, highlighting the old age-related disease burden on households in the country.

Data published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that 34 percent of Kenyans aged 50 and above have some sort of health cover.

Uptake among the economically active population is relatively low, with only 28.7 percent of those between 15-49 years having health cover, according to the findings of the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) 2022.

The survey is carried out after every eight years to determine the health wellness and the general health-seeking behaviour among Kenyans.

Health insurance uptake across all ages improved to 26.3 percent from 19.8 percent in 2014 with the lowest uptake being in children below 15 years at 20.85 percent.

Health cover plays a crucial role in cushioning households from out-of-pocket health care, which is costly, especially in times of high inflation.

The survey findings also revealed a narrowing gender gap in health cover over the years, with the uptake among men, was reported to be at 26.5 percent, up from 21.6 percent in 2014, compared to 26 percent among women.

At 26 percent, according to the survey findings, the health cover uptake among women was a remarkable improvement from 18 percent eight years ago.

Urban dwellers reported higher health cover uptake compared to their counterparts in rural areas, mainly due to wealth disparities between the two demographics.

“Health insurance coverage increases with increasing wealth, from five percent among females and males in the lowest wealth quintile to 56 percent among females and 60 percent among males in the highest wealth quintile,” said the KNBS in the report.

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) accounted for 84 percent of those who had health cover.

This was mainly due to the public health insurer's lower premiums and a mandatory requirement for those in formal employment.

Those who primarily depend on private health cover represent 14 percent of those insured.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.