Kisii County renews NHIF cover amid plan for change

NHIF Building, Nairobi. May 3, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kisii County government workers can now access medical services under the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover. Some employees had complained of being denied services at a number of hospitals after the NHIF cover lapsed on October 19.

This as Governor Simba Arati and Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials differed over planned change of medical insurance cover provider.

On Friday, Mr Arati, in a statement that could temporarily put on hold the tender for a new medical cover, said his administration had secured a commitment from NHIF.

"We will stop at nothing until we sort out the shortcuts that have denied our staff and their dependents quality medical care. My administration assures our people that baseless rumours will not derail our plan of delivering on our promises to our people," said the governor.

The Kisii county government had already advertised a tender notice for provision of a medical cover for workers and their dependents for a period of 12 months.

Bidders were to submit their documents through the Integrated Financial Management information systems (Ifmis) supplier portal before October 21.

A total of 4,448 employees and their dependents will be covered for Inpatient, Outpatient, Optical, Dental, maternity, last expenses and Group Life Cover.

The move has raised concerns from KMPDU officials who said this was a clear indication to replace NHIF Comprehensive Civil Servants Cover with a private entity.

In a letter to the Kisii County Secretary and Head of Public Service dated October 27, and signed by Dr Aggrey Orwenyo, the doctors argued that stakeholder engagement is paramount for matters as serious as medical cover.

"As doctors, with experience and in-depth knowledge of the medical insurance industry, we can confidently pronounce that NHIF Civil Servants Scheme is the superior cover in the market," said Dr Orwenyo.

He said that counties that had moved to private medical insurance covers had reverted to NHIF after experiencing challenges.

"The governor's should embrace dialogue," said Dr Orwenyo.