The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has announced radical reviews of its terms. It has among other measures announced the reduction in the number of dependent children to five from the current 10 and in a shocker for men it now limits eligible spouses to just one. The National Insurer said the new measures are aimed at punishing defaulters.
Kenyans are up in arms complaining that poor wananchi may be left out of insurance should the new rules actually end up being adopted. The move by NHIF has increased the waiting period for one to start receiving medical insurance up to 3 months from 2 months. Those seeking specialized treatment have to wait for 120 days to start receiving benefits. A total shocker is that new members are required to make a 12-month upfront payment of KSH 6, 000.
Defaulters will have to dig deeper in their pockets, to pay a 50% penalty, charged for each month defaulted/late payment. Assuming you pay KSH 500 monthly and default, you are liable to pay an additional KSH 250 charged upfront.
If you happen to have a large family, of more than 5 children, you will be forced to take another cover for them, because the new regulation restricts the cover to 5 children and one spouse.
Expectant mothers have not been spared either as they have a restricted maternity access of up to 6 months after a card matures. It is not all gloomy with health insurance subsidies for Linda Mama, elderly persons with severe disability and the Inua Mama Programe being exempted from the new regulations.
It remains to be seen whether Uhuru Kenyata’s Universal Health Care will be affected, considering NHIF was the main pillar for UHC.