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'ARE OPPRESSIVE'

Suspend new NHIF rules, says Sabina Chege

Says she's shocked that the board published the regulations without involving the assembly

In Summary

• The National Assembly's Health Committee Chairperson Sabina Chege said the board was to present the rules before the committee for scrutiny.

• The house has written to the board asking for the suspension of the rules until the committee meets it on January 26.

National Assembly Health Committee Chairperson Sabina Chege at Kangari Catholic Church on Saturday.
National Assembly Health Committee Chairperson Sabina Chege at Kangari Catholic Church on Saturday.
Image: ALICE WAITHERA
National Assembly Health Committee chairperson Sabina Chege at Kangari Catholic Church on Saturday.
National Assembly Health Committee chairperson Sabina Chege at Kangari Catholic Church on Saturday.
Image: ALICE WAITHERA

The National Health Insurance Fund board should suspend changes to their coverage model, Murang'a Woman Representative Sabina Chege has said. 

Chege, who is the parliamentary Health Committee chairperson, said that the clerk has been instructed to write to the board to stop it from implementing the rules.

 

The lawmaker said her committee will meet the board on January 26 in a special sitting to discuss the regulations.

She said the rules given by the board agonise Kenyans who are already struggling with the hard economic times.

The rules announced on January 7 increased the waiting period for new entrants to three months, time in which they must pay Sh6,000 upfront for the 12 months.

Defaulters will also be required to pay a 50 per cent penalty for each month defaulted for up to 11 months.

They will also pay a one-year advance and wait 30 days before getting any benefits.

“I don’t agree with the rules. A lot of them portray members of the board as people who just sit in their offices and are out of touch with the various challenges faced by Kenyans,” she said.

The committee, she noted, was looking forward to NHIF reforms and had given some recommendations.

She said the committee wanted the Linda Mama programme expanded to cover expectant mothers for one year to help them immunise their children.

This is because most cases of child deaths occur between birth and age one.  

She said just before the house went on recess, the committee had requested the board and Ministry of Health to present the reforms to the committee for scrutiny before publishing.

 

“We are shocked that the board went ahead to publish them without involving the assembly,” she said.

She further noted that the rules are not in line with the spirit of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) whose aim is to ease access and affordability of health care.

Over Sh21 billion was allocated to the Ministry in the supplementary budget to facilitate the rolling out of the universal health programme in counties, she noted.

 This was on top of the Sh90 billion that the programme received in the annual budget.

“We want the reforms done in NHIF to be people-friendly. With the current economic times, the standard of living is too high and we should not make it harder, especially when funds have been provided to make it easier,” the MP added.

The rules further stipulate that defaulters for more than one year will be treated as new entrants, while maternity access was restricted to six months after the maturity of the card.

Maternity and specialised services patients declared by a member after the initial registration will have a six-month waiting period while newborns will be declared within six months.

Additional dependants and new spouses will have a 30-day waiting period for inpatient and outpatient services and a six-month waiting period for specialised services

The maximum number of dependants was restricted to one spouse and five children.