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Make payments to NHIF mandatory, says director

In the 2021/22 financial year, NHIF recorded a loss of about Sh2.7 billion lower than the Sh3.2 billion loss recorded in the previous year. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Contributions to the health fund should be mandatory for every Kenyan aged 18 and above, a parliamentary committee has been told.

National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) Chief Executive Officer Peter Kamunyo told the parliamentary committee on health that voluntary contributors to the fund stand at 15 per cent.

“Most Kenyans contribute to the insurance fund when they are sick,” said Kamunyo.

The MPs however said making the contributions mandatory would need a regulation that would be subjected to public participation before it is approved by Parliament.

Improving comprehensive medical care dominated a meeting between the NHIF board and the health committee.

The chairperson of the National Assembly parliamentary committee on health Robert Pukose said the priority area would be delivery of Universal Health Care (UHC).

“The fund has played a major role in delivering UHC and some counties have recorded success stories from disbursements made by the fund to the hospitals,” said Dr Pukose.

Another proposal raised by the board was improving public health facilities to ease the pressure on claims from private hospitals -where a majority of patients under NHIF seek services.

Board chairperson Lewis Nguyai said reduction in budgetary allocation from Sh50 million to Sh30 million coupled with under-staffing have affected their operations.

Nguyai said the manual claims system formerly used led to leakages of monies as high as 20 per cent.

“The fact that we have fully moved to the e-claim process we have cut on the leakages,” said Nguyai.

In the 2021/22 financial year, NHIF recorded a loss of about Sh2.7 billion lower than the Sh3.2 billion loss recorded in the previous year.

Kamunyo said the losses were caused by fraud at health facilities where some facilities collude with NHIF officers to submit false claims.

Pukose said Kenya Medical Supplies Authority and Kenya Medical Research Institute  are among the 17 semi-autonomous government agencies in medical services the team will be touring.

“Before we are able to embark on our work as a committee we felt that we needed to understand the workings of these organisations. 

“Where it will be necessary to amend the law to offer better health services to the people, we will support the fund,” said Pukose.