MPs threaten to cancel teachers' medical cover

Members of Parliament are now mulling asking the National Treasury to withhold billions of shillings meant for teachers’ medical insurance scheme.

The National Assembly Education Committee has been investigating the Sh53 billion medical scheme contract between the Teachers Service Commission and Minet Insurance brokers Ltd after  teachers complained over poor services.

The House team said that should they find there is no value for money in the contract, they will instruct the Treasury not to disburse monies for the second year of the contract which came into effect on December 1.

According to documents tabled in Parliament, the contract is spread over three years with the total amount being Sh53,580,306,270.

The first year runs from December 1, 2022, to November 2023 and is allocated Sh14.8 billion, the second year from December 1, 2023, to November 2024 is allocated Sh17.9 billion while the third year will commence on December 1, 2024, to November 2025 where Minet insurance has been allocated Sh20.668 billion.

“As a committee, our investigations will inform us on whether there was value for money and if we determine there was none we shall advise treasury not to remit the funds,” said Committee Chairperson and Tinderet MP Julius Melly.

The committee today  fined Bliss Healthcare Insurance and Medical Administrators Kenya Limited (MAKL) Sh500,000 each for snubbing summons. The parties were to appear alongside the leadership of Minet Insurance brokers Ltd but the latter sent a letter to the committee asking to be excused from yesterday's proceedings.

The other two, the chair said, neither communicated in writing nor physically showed up to face the committee within the precincts of Parliament as directed.

“The absconding of this meeting by Minet is a testimony of what teachers are going through. We are going to fine MAKL and Bliss Healthcare Sh500,000 each in line with our standing orders and we expect that the money will be paid before December 19 when they next appear before us and a receipt deposited with the clerk,” stated Melly.

According to Standing order 191 (A), if a witness summoned by the committee fails to appear, the House or Committee may impose a fine not exceeding Sh500,000, having regard to the witness’ condition in life and all the circumstances of the case.

Lugarii MP Nabii Nabwera said that no matter how long it takes; the three entities would be held accountable for their actions that have caused untold suffering to teachers.

“You have nowhere to hide in this country. You must provide teachers with the services they require or get out of this contract,” said Nabwera.

Moiben MP Phylis Bartoo sought to know why Minet, MAKL and Bliss Healthcare  did not grab the opportunity to argue their case amidst claims of gross incompetence.

“If they are not hiding anything then why didn’t they appear? It shows there are cards they are playing that are hurtful to teachers,” said Bartoo.

Nyamira Women Representative Jerusha Momanyi revealed that the three parties which were to appear before the committee had been telling the committee secretariat that they were within Parliament precincts only for them to switch off their phones.

Kitutu Masaba MP Clive Gisairo said: “You can see the kind of people given the responsibility to serve teachers. If they can snub Parliament which has equal powers as the High Court, then you can imagine what they do to teachers.”

The committee has been looking into the multi-billion contract following a petition by teachers who urged the August House to intervene over allegations that the insurer had victimized them which was characterized by teachers being turned away at health facilities due to non-payment by Minet and delays in approval of teachers’ and their beneficiaries ’requests for treatment on referrals.