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NHIF pushes members to select outpatient facilities

By Graham Kajilwa | January 6th 2016

Members of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) have up to Friday to select their outpatient health facilities.

This category of beneficiaries also includes those who wish to change their health facilities.

However, those who are content with the service of their current facilities are not obliged to change.

According to a notice by the insurer, choices made should be from 1,100 list of accredited health providers by the insurer.

"All members are therefore requested to select their preferred outpatient health care facilities in their capacity as the principal member and so also for their declared family members (dependants). If you are happy with your current health facility provider you are not required to change," read part of the notice.

Usually, to access outpatient comprehensive medical cover, a member and their dependents are required to select a health facility from the NHIF list of contracted outpatient service providers which only applies to the outpatient cover.

Currently, there are 500 public and 600 private health institutions.

NHIF mode of operation is that there is no limitation on the number of declared beneficiaries as well as no upper age limit for members to join.

However despite such lucrative packages, NHIF has been suffering low and slow uptake of insurance which currently stands at 20 million against a population of 43 million with 5.7 million principal contributors.

To improve uptake, NHIF recently launched outpatient care packages through the Health Insurance Subsidy Programme (HISP) that targets the elderly and severely disabled.

The programme targets 23,000 poor households (500 households per county) who will include orphaned children.

A report by the World Bank Public Expenditure Tracking Survey states that approximately 1, 680,000 Kenyans are pushed to poverty every year due to illnesses related expenses. This figure contributes to 150 million globally.

This is because over Sh50 billion of the of the total health care budget does not reach poor citizens which has contributed to reduced consistency of donor funding in the sector due to lack of accountability.

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