All Kenyans will be compelled to be members of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and to make a contribution to Kes. 500 monthly in new reforms as the government rolls out a health cover for all Kenyans.
The bill by majority leader Amos Kimunya will see all adults compelled to pay Kes 500 monthly or Kes 6,000 annually in a remodelled Universal Health Coverage (UHC) scheme for outpatient and inpatient services, including maternity, dialysis, cancer treatment and surgery.
The MPs rejected the National Assembly Committee on Health amendments, which sought to have the national and county governments foot the bills for the 5.1 million poor households.
“A person who has attained the age of 18 years and is not a beneficiary shall register as a member of the fund,” a new clause, introduced last evening to the Bill states.
Currently, workers who earn between Kes 8,000 and Kes 11,999 pay Kes 400 monthly, according to NHIF rates however under the new bill, employers with workers earning less than Kes 12,000 will now be compelled to top up their employees’ contributions to the insurance fund.
Meanwhile, Formal sector workers contribute to the NHIF based on their salaries with the highest contribution being Kes1,700. However, employers are now facing up to Kes 1,700 additional monthly statutory deductions per worker under the Bill.
“The base of contribution will be Kes 500. But there are employees in the private sector who contribute Kes150 or Kes 300. The import of this amendment is to ensure that the private sector employers simply top up the difference to ensure employees base is Kes 500,” Mr Amos Kimunya.
In the financial year ended June 2017, Formal workers contributed kes 24.89 billion to the insurance fund, meaning that employers were to spend more than this on the State health cover given that formal contributors had risen to 4.452 million at the end of June last year.
“The national government and county government shall be liable as a contributor to the Fund in respect of all public officers, state officers and employees working in the national government and national government entities. Any other employer shall be liable as a contributor to the Fund in respect of its employees.” ” the bill stated.
MPs also created three categories and rates payable to NHIF by persons whose income is derived from self-employment.
“The essence is to ensure a self-contributor without a family pays a different rate from one with a family. The unemployed whether young or old and who is not an indigent will have a different rate,” Mr Kimunya said. The board will determine the rates through regulations.
Official data shows over 25.36 million Kenyans are aged 18 years and above, meaning the compulsory contributions would have added at least 16.36 million contributors, nearly tripling NHIF membership