Stakeholders raise concerns over sections of NHIF Bill 2021

New NHIF regulations continue to elicit reactions

Stakeholders in the insurance industry have raised concerns over sections of the NHIF amendment bill 2021 that will negatively affect the growth of the industry.

Association of Kenya insurers CEO Tom Gichuhi says the proposal to make it mandatory for every Kenyan above 18 years to contribute and be a member of NHIF in both formal and informal sector and the requirement for employers to match employee contribution will impact the cost of labour.

The NHIF amendment bill 2021 currently before parliament proposes that every Kenyan above 18 years make an annual Sh6,000 contribution to the National Hospital Insurance Fund.

The government-backed National Hospital Insurance Fund (Amendment) Bill seeks to make it compulsory for every Kenyan to contribute Ksh 500 every month for outpatient and inpatient services.

Although the proposals have been backed by Kenyans, Stakeholders in the insurance industry say the requirement for employers to match employee contribution will impact the cost of labour adding that employers who have supplemented their employees NHIF insurance cover with private medical insurance may withdraw or considerably reduce private insurance benefits to employees to mitigate the rise in labour costs.

Association of Kenya insurers CEO Tom Gichuhi said the bill passed in its current form will deal a blow to the insurance industry premium which contributes slightly over 2% of the country’s GDP.

He proposed that employers who are able to sponsor their employees for private medical covers be exempted or allowed to opt out provided they are able to demonstrate that they are offering more than the basic healthcare services.

Gichuhi further said the bill should provide room and encouragement for voluntary action by individuals to provide more than the minimum required cover.

The bill also proposes that where one has private insurance, the private insurer will be required to pay first and NHIF will come in once the benefits of the private insurers are exhausted.

This according to Gichuhi will increase the cost of providing medical insurance reducing the uptake.

AKI is also calling for total overhaul and restructuring of NHIF as recommended by the committee of experts appointed by the government five years ago.

  

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