In the newly proposed reforms to phase out the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), Kenyans will have to dig deeper into their pockets.
Government is set to introduce a 2.75 percent monthly deduction from October, dedicated towards the proposed Social Social Health Insurance Bill (SHIF) 2023 entrenched in the Universal Health Coverage plan.
Under this package, Kenyans will access preventative, promotive and primary care services at community, dispensary and health centre levels.
Furthermore, this bill will help one build up a chronic illness and emergency fund after an assessment of their health situation.
The 2.75 Deduction
Consequently, the government is targeting to slash 2.75 percent of the over 3 million employed Kenyans.
As President William Ruto put forward, low-income earners will be contributing a fee of KSh300 which is less than the existing minimum NHIF contribution of KSh500.
“We are changing the funding system so that we can allow the vulnerable to access NHIF free of charge and those who are in the lower category to pay less and those who earn more like me to pay more,” the head of state.
Minimum SHIF Contribution
Previously, NHIF deductions were capped at KSh1,700 for every employee. However, should this bill sail through in Parliament, the minimum contribution will stand at KSh300 without a maximum limit.
This means therefore that those earning more will have a higher chunk of their salary deducted. Every Kenyan, whether employed or not, is expected to register as a member of the Social Health Insurance Fund.
President Ruto stated that the newly recruited 100,000 community health promoters will play a significant role in implementation of SHIF.
“We are going to equip our community health promoters with necessary equipment ili waweze kutusaidia mambo ya kutambua magonjwa mapema. ndio tuweze kuyashughulikia mapema. Tuwache kutumia pesa nyingi kwa matibabu.”
Health CS Nakhumicha defends bill
Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Nakhumicha termed the SHIF bill as a game-changer. She stated that the new bill addresses challenges such as payouts experienced with NHIF.
“As we reform NHIF we want to have a new vehicle; a social health insurance that takes care of the needs of Kenyans, that should a patient choose to walk to Coptic hospital, Coptic will have its bill paid by a new social health insurance scheme,” Nakhumicha added.
The health minister pointed out that they were compiling responses from various stakeholders before submitting the bill in Parliament.