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Court lifts orders barring implementation of Social Health Insurance Act

The Court of Appeal has suspended orders issued by the High Court that stopped the implementation of the Social Health Insurance Act, 2023.

The three-judge bench, comprising Justices Patrick Kiage, Pauline Nyamweya, and Grace Ngenye also lifted orders restraining the implementation of the Primary Health Care Act, 2023, and The Digital Health Act, 2023.

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In the ruling delivered on Friday, the judges stated that the case pending before court poses a real and present danger to the health rights of countless citizens who are not parties to the ongoing matter.

“We are persuaded that the confusion, the lacuna and the risk and harm to citizens pending the hearing and determination of the appeal is a price too dear to pay, and it would have the effect of rendering the appeal nugatory,” the ruling reads in part.

However, several sections of the Social Health Insurance Act remain suspended pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

The sections include section 26(5) which makes registration and contribution a precondition for dealing with or accessing public services from the national and county governments and section 27(4) which provides that a person shall only access healthcare services where their contributions to the Social Health Insurance Fund are up to date and active.

Section 47(3) which obligates every Kenyan to be uniquely identified for purposes of the provision of health services will also remain suspended.

The Social Health Insurance Act is set to replace the current National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and establishes three new funds.

The funds include Primary Healthcare Fund, the Social Health Insurance Fund, and the Emergency, Chronic and Critical Illness Fund.

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