Parliament wants teachers' medical scheme cancelled

Minet Chief Executive Officer Sammy Muthui. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Members of Parliament have demanded for the termination of Sh53 billion medical scheme for teachers.

The National Assembly Education Committee Tuesday challenged Minet Kenya Insurance Brokers Ltd to account for the billions of shillings, accusing the company exposing teachers to suffering.

The MPs said teachers have petitioned them to intervene, with allegations that they were being turned away at health facilities due to non-payment by Minet and delays in approvals.

Teachers complained of health facilities under Minet taking up to four days to discharge patients unlike in other schemes. They could also not access health services again within seven days after treatment.

The committee heard that teachers were required to co-pay an extra Sh100 every time they visit hospitals despite the requirement having been nullified in June.

The committee further heard that in a year, the insurance raked in approximately Sh300 million from three million yearly hospital visits.

According to the 2015 contract with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), teachers were to access unlimited outpatient and inpatient services in select health facilities. They were also to enjoy annual maternity services cover of Sh120,000, optical cover of Sh60,000 and a dental cover of up to Sh40,000.

During a meeting with the committee, Minet Chief Executive Officer Sammy Muthui was at pains to explain why the contract should not be terminated.

‘‘When you look at the details in the contract document, it is very good, looks proper, but when you get to the implementation, that is where the devil is. Teachers want to have value for money,’’ said the committee chairman Julius Melly.

‘‘Before any individual is treated, he undergoes a harrowing experience sitting on a bench for hours yet he has a medical cover. Why do you put teachers through such harrowing experience?’’

In his defense, Muthui assured that his firm was up to the task. ‘‘The teachers’ medical scheme is unique in its benefits. This is mainly because of the large number of insured lives and superior benefits where a component of the benefits is unlimited,’’ he said.

Kibra MP Peter Oraro wondered why the company is struggling to provide quality services to teachers despite the allocation.

‘‘You mean you don’t pay the service providers to an extent that when you want to go for the services you are banned?’’ he said.

However, Muthui said the company is determined to offer quality services. ‘‘Indeed, because of the sheer volume of cases, setbacks are bound to happen. We acknowledge them and we take corrective measures when they do occur,’’ he said.

Melly ruled that Minet’s leadership appears before the team on December 5 when it is expected to present substantiated answers through documentation.