State insurer pays out Sh1.36b for cancer treatment

Dr Navin Raina instructs other doctors at Medihelal hospital on how to use endoscopy machine while conducting diagnosis on 13th May, 2015. [File, Standard]
The amount of money the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) paid out towards cancer treatment rose by 11 per cent in the last financial year to Sh1.36 billion, new data show.

The State health insurer paid out Sh1.23 billion to treat the disease in the previous year.

The fund’s latest utilisation report indicates that in the past five years, it has steadily increased the benefits contributors enjoy, from two to more than 10.

The NHIF oncology cancer treatment package is one of the packages that have been hailed as a success, helping thousands of families save millions of shillings in hospital bills.

SEE ALSO :Desperate families turn to social media for medical funds appeal

Data from Afya Smiles Kenya, a premier health website, estimates the cost of chemotherapy to be between Sh10,000 and Sh82,000 per session in public hospitals, and between Sh35,000 and Sh500,000 per session in private hospitals. This means that, on average, a patient can spend over Sh1 million on cancer treatment.

“NHIF thus strives to continually review its benefit packages and organise them towards providing support to all its members. These benefit packages aim to provide financial risk protection,” said NHIF Acting Chief Executive Nicodemus Odongo while releasing the latest data which coincided with the World Cancer Day last week.

Currently, the NHIF’s care package includes up to 10 chemotherapy sessions, oral and injectable anti-cancer drugs, inpatient and outpatient oncology services, 20 sessions for radiotherapy, and up to two sessions for brachytherapy for advanced cancer, per year.

The health facilities that offer the package include some level five and six hospitals and selected private hospitals in urban centres.

NHIF covers six sessions for the first line treatment for up to Sh25,000 per session, four sessions for the second and third line treatment for up to Sh150,000 per session and 20 sessions of radiotherapy.

SEE ALSO :CS banks on NHIF reforms to drive universal coverage

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