Unemployed adults may soon benefit from NHIF family cover

HEALTH & SCIENCE |

The Bill seeks to cap age of children beneficiaries from 18 to 21. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Unemployed Kenyan adults up to age 25 may soon be beneficiaries of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) within the family cover.

Members of the National Assembly are considering proposals to the NHIF (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to ensure unemployed adults are not mandated to pay Sh500 monthly to access medicare.

Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya yesterday asked MPs to vote in favor of the Bill that seeks to ensure medicare for all in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme.

The Bill seeks to cap age of children beneficiaries from 18 to 21. “For the ones not working and have finished school they will still be considered beneficiaries of their sponsors or families.

On the other hand, for those in school and not earning, the age has been set up to 25 years.

They won’t have to pay directly themselves but will be covered within the family cover,” Kimunya said, adding: “The Bill seeks to bring everyone on board so that the universal health coverage can be achieved”.

Currently, parents who are members of NHIF are allowed to enroll children as beneficiaries until they turn 18. The Bill, if passed, will enable adults to first find employment before registering for NHIF and removing the mandatory contributions.

 “When you give options to people, obviously the ones who will pay are the ones who believe they are at risk. By making it mandatory, it means the healthy will be paying for the sick and those who cannot afford will be paid for by the ones who can afford and the government will also play its part and pay for the vulnerable so that everyone is catered for,” Kimunya said.

He said the Bill would ensure matching of contributions by employers is not mandatory.

“If the employer has a private cover for their employee then they will not be obligated to pay the matching contribution because they have already gone beyond the situation and covered the employers separately,” he said.

The house is expected to take a vote today. 

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