By J N GITIMU
First, the fact you gave that the number of Kenyans in the formal sector with medical insurance is less than two per cent is inaccurate.
A comparison of our active members with government statistics appearing in latest Economic Survey reports indicate NHIF has covered over 95 per cent of formal sector workers. An IFC/Deloitte report on strategic review of NHIF and market assessment of prepaid Health schemes that is available on the website has statistics on medical insurance coverage to Kenyans.
NHIF is extremely efficient given it has operated on the premiums legislated way back in 1989 that ranges from Sh30 to Sh320. With these contributions, NHIF has expanded services to virtually every county which puts it at an advantage with the advent of devolution of services to the counties. It has also accredited over 600 health providers for members to access healthcare services.
The Fund has embraced innovative revenue collection methods that include Electronic Funds Transfer, direct banking of contributions into NHIF accounts by employers and have forged healthy partnerships with banks on this.
Informal sector workers are remitting contributions via M-Pesa, a service that the Fund will soon extend to small employers.
In a nutshell, NHIF really do not need any assistance on revenue collection as regard the formal sector. It is worth pointing out that Kenya Revenue Authority collected NHIF contributions in 2001 but had to sever this partnership after six months because the Fund ended up receiving the money from KRA which was not accounted for employer-wise.
Last raised in 89
The Fund now not only accounts the contributions employer-wise but individual-wise. Employers submit details of each employee contributions for update of individual member account.
Once health demands arise, a health provider has to confirm online on compliance status of that account before one accesses services. Employers and Health providers have been painstakingly trained on these aspects.
During the period NHIF partnered with KRA, the exercise was a total failure. The collections were not pegged to employers which made it impossible to know which employers were compliant and revenue collection for the Fund also plummeted. NHIF continues to survive on premiums last raised in 1989.