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NHIF contributors swell to 7.7 million as payouts jump

NHIF headquarters. FILE PHOTO | NMG
NHIF headquarters in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has increased its principal contributors by 13 percent to stand at 7.7 million, with most new members coming from the informal sector.

The national insurer at the same time increased its payout in the 2017/2018 period by 41.4 percent to hit Sh37.2 billion on higher medical claims.

Data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) show the higher disbursement coincided with total number of health facilities serviced by NHIF that went up by 9.8 percent to 10,820 in 2018, underlining the insurer’s growing reach.

This comes at a time when the scheme is undergoing reforms that are expected to strengthen it capacity to deliver Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in an efficient, accountable and transparent manner.

Last year, NHIF was excluded from handling Sh3.1 billion allocated for the UHC rollout in four counties. Health Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki said NHIF was not able to grow its membership beyond a certain capacity, which would have hindered the start of the universal health scheme this year.

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The exclusion was arrived at after the four counties expressed misgivings over governance issues at the Fund following the arrest of Mr Geoffrey Mwangi, former NHIF chief executive, his predecessor and 16 other officials who were also charged with abuse of office and irregular award in extension of a contract in which Sh1.1 billion was lost.

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