•The NHIF, previously known as the National Hospital Insurance Fund, has been undergoing a series of reforms
•The new NHIF act that was passed by Parliament and assented into law by the President seeks to transform the agency and broaden the scope of service delivery
You might be unable to renew your business operating permits if you fail to register for the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) once the new laws come into effect.
The NHIF, previously known as the National Hospital Insurance Fund, has been undergoing a series of reforms to among others align the agency as the main driver of the Universal health coverage agenda.
The new NHIF act that has been passed by Parliament and assented into law by the President seeks to transform the agency and broaden the scope of service delivery.
It seeks to include other health care providers such as people in private practice, institutions that offer healthcare such as pharmacies or people who use technology to deliver health services such as telemedicine.
The NHIF board chairman Lewis Nguyai on Wednesday noted the move will widen the reach and enable 100 per cent of Kenyans to have healthcare benefits.
In the new reforms, anyone above 18 years of age will be required to be part of the national insurance scheme contributing Sh500 monthly.
"At present for the next two years, the NHIF contributions will remain the same. The act now provides powers for the board to determine the extent of contribution but it can only be done and reviewed every two years," Nguyai said.
Currently, the cover is Sh500 per family which caters for a principal member, their spouse and their children who are under 18 years.
"Once you surpass 18 you become an adult and now it is becoming mandatory for you to contribute. It will obviously be mandatory for even those who technically call themselves unemployed," he noted.
The Act is expected to be gazetted this Friday with subsidiary legislation expected to be ready by April 20.
According to Nguyai, the Act has to go through public participation by the end of February.
The task force mandated with ensuring reforms at the agency is currently in Naivasha doing organizational transformation with an aim to bring in a lean organization that is extremely efficient in the provision of healthcare.
“If you are a mama mboga and you are known that you provide certain services, it will be important for you before you are given that county government piece of paper that you show that you have paid for your NHIF card.”
The government-backed act will see all adults compelled to pay Sh500 monthly or Sh6,000 annually in a remodelled Universal Health Coverage (UHC) scheme for outpatient and inpatient services, including maternity, dialysis, cancer treatment and surgery.
Meanwhile, the Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has called on county governments to work with NGAO and faith-based organisations such as churches to help identify vulnerable Kenyans who should be helped to pay for their premiums.
“These clergies know their flock, they know who is very poor and they know who can afford it,” Kagwe said.