The government has doubled the number of National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) accredited health centres in the last three years in a bid to scale up access to primary healthcare.
The facilities rose from 4,281 in 2017 to 8,189 in June this year.
Health ministry Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Mercy Mwangangi said of the 3,908 new healthcare providers, 3,094 were government dispensaries and health centres.
“Consequently, the total number of healthcare providers empanelled with NHIF has increased to 8,189 as at June 2020 where 99 percent of all government healthcare providers are declared with NHIF,” Dr Mwangangi told Parliament.
She said the expansion of the network of healthcare providers includes facilities in Levels II and III which are dispensaries and health centres, including those located in very remote rural areas and informal settlements.
“NHIF beneficiaries all over the country can therefore access services from this wide network of service points,” she said.
The NHIF on Wednesday announced that it will only provide cover for Covid-19 patients admitted to public hospitals raising fears among its members following a surge in infections.
The State backed insurer said it will only pay rebates on treatment bills incurred by coronavirus patients at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital, Mbagathi Hospital and other Health ministry-designated hospitals in the counties.
“NHIF shall not be liable for bills incurred in non-Ministry of Health designated facilities,” Peter Kamunyo, the chief executive of NHIF said in a circular to all hospitals.
The move by the NHIF follows a decision by private insurers to end cover for Covid-19 patients on grounds that the pandemic does not qualify for cover. This means that patients have to dig into their pockets to offset accrued bills.