CONFLICT

IRA trolled for ruling out corona treatment in private hospitals

In Summary

 

  • The regulator told the Senate that insurance companies will not pay for treatment in private hospitals where bills range from Sh600,000 to Sh1.2 million.
  • It indicated that insurance firms could only pay claims up to Sh135, 000 for coronavirus related hospital bill for policyholders.

 

Association of Insurers and Brokers of Kenya chairman Nelson Omolo with Insurance Regulatory Authority acting CEO and Commissioner Godfrey Kiptum
Association of Insurers and Brokers of Kenya chairman Nelson Omolo with Insurance Regulatory Authority acting CEO and Commissioner Godfrey Kiptum
Image: CHARLES MGHENYI

The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has been criticized after stating that insurance firms will only pay for coronavirus disease treatment in public hospitals.

This is after the regulator-adopted proposals from insurers to drop coverage in private institutions on fears of increased expenses related to the respiratory disease that could push them into losses.

Early this month, the regulator told the Senate that insurance companies will not pay for treatment in private hospitals where bills range from Sh600,000 to Sh1.2 million.

 

It indicated that insurance firms could only pay claims up to Sh135, 000 for coronavirus related hospital bill for policyholders.

“The insurance industry will pay for testing and treatment offered in government hospitals. These will include facilities run by the central government and county governments,” Godfrey Kiptum, the IRA CEO is said to have told the Senate.

IRA’s stand is in contrast tom another one made in March when it announced that insurance firms would cover all policyholders affected by the coronavirus.

“I would like to assure the public that the insurance companies will continue to provide their services to policyholders affected or infected by the virus,” Kiptum.

This has sparked a heated debate on social media, with users especially on twitter seeking further clarification from IRA.

For instance, Dr. Nelly Bosire wondered if public facilities have the capacity to handle any more cases considering their low capacities.

''So for all of you lucky 10 per cent Kenyans with a medical insurance policy, kindly note that you are already on your own should you get sick with Covid-19. You will have to pay out of pocket for treatment. Worse still, there is no guarantee you will get a bed in ICU should you need it,’’ Bosire twitted.

 

Another twitter user Gerald Ngui said IRA is taking the unreasonable stance due to pressure from insurance companies who are running away from responsibility and do not want to pay huge bills for treatment.

‘'This is unfortunate and exploitative business because it dumps clients when they need support,’’ another user, Antivocative said.

The harsh critics saw the regulator send a generic tweet, assuring the public that insurance companies pay/settle claims.

Insurance companies pay claims. Policyholders pay premiums. Insurance companies are settling covid-19 related claims. Should you experience any challenge,’’ IRA said in a tweet.