A new proposal contained in the NHIF (Amendment) Bill 2021 that is before parliament seeks to reduce monthly contributions are from the current Sh. 500 for informal Kenyans. Under the new proposal, Kenyans who contribute the minimum monthly amount will now be paying Sh. 300.
This new figure will be lower than the Sh. 350 that Kenyans in the informal sector were paying before the NHIF raised the minimum amount to Sh. 500.
“The proposed amendment is intended to ensure that many Kenyans particularly persons who are in the informal sector, those not working and indigents can afford to pay the NHIF contribution by reducing the rate from the current Sh. 500 per month to Sh. 300,” the bill proposes.
The proposal comes amidst falling numbers of Kenyans who are paying for NHIF. According to the latest figures, 5.7 million members or 54 percent contributors had stopped paying for the NHIF by the end of last month. NHIF had 8.898 million members at the end of June 2020, with 4.452 million drawn from the formal sector and 4.546 million from the informal sector segment.
The government has also been seeking to introduce new health reforms that will see every household in Kenya pay a mandatory annual health coverage fee of Sh. 6,000. “Government focus is on the establishment of a mandatory UHC scheme to be managed by NHIF and regulated by the Ministry of Health and act as the national scheme for all persons resident in Kenya, notwithstanding one’s social status,” the cabinet secretary for National Treasury Ukur Yatani said.
The NHIF medical cover has faced criticism with Kenyans complaining that it is a waste of money since it does not cover all in and out patient services. This package has also been claimed to be problematic to get admitted with in certain hospitals. Currently, from the monthly contributions, the national insurer collects around Sh. 60 billion annually.