The Social Health Insurance Fund: What you need to know

Timothy Olweny, SHA chairperson.

As the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) slowly wounds down, concerns continue to arise on how effective the Social Health Authority (SHA) will be.

The government is yet to issue clear guidelines on how the contribution made to NHIF will be used in the new funding system.

However, SHA chairperson Timothy Olweny asserts that the contributions have already been updated in the new health system.

Speaking on Spice FM on Friday, December 1, Olweny said that they are working to ensure a smooth transition from NHIF to the new Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF).

“The moment the signing of the Social Health Authority happened, the NHIF contribution was transferred to the Social Health Insurance Fund. We are working on ensuring there is a smooth transition. That is our priority,” he said.

According to Olweny, the government will issue a registration period in which every Kenyan will be required to register for the new funding system.

The registration will be done within 90 days and will be fully digitalised.

 After registering, one will be required to make a mandatory payment, failure to which some health services will be inaccessible.

“The primary and emergency funds are funded by the exchequer and for that, you don’t need to be up to date with your payment. But if you want to access level 4 or 6 health services or chronic illness then you need to have been up to date with payments,” he explained. 

The mandatory payment is important to ensure that the fund and the authority at large will be sustainable.

NHIF employees on the other hand will be given the priority to apply for job positions in the SHA.

Those who wish to retire will be allowed to do so while others will be absorbed in the health public sector.

As it is a new system Olweny says they need to revisit the right employment procedure to ensure those employed are equal to the task.

According to the chair, SHIF carries a wider mandate than NHIF and offers an opportunity to do things afresh.

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