The Cabinet on Tuesday, August 29 approved the scrapping of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) as part of efforts to achieve Universal Healthcare (UHC) in Kenya.
Moreover, a dispatch released from State House indicated that the three Bills include Primary Health Care Bill, 2023; Digital Health Bill, 2023; Facility Improvement Financing Bill, 2023; and Social Health Insurance Bill, 2023.
“These Bills usher in a paradigm in the legal and institutional framework for healthcare in Kenya by repealing the current National Health Insurance Fund and establishing in its place the following funds: Primary Healthcare Fund; Social Health Insurance Fund; and Emergency, Chronic and Critical Illness Fund,” reads part of the Cabinet dispatch.
As such, the Primary Health Care Bill 2023, Digital Health Bill 2023, Facility Improvement Financing Bill 2023, and Social Health Insurance Bill 2023 will be transmitted to Parliament for consideration and approval.
Also, the dispatch states that the Digital Health Bill will allow for the development of standards to govern the provision of m-health, telemedicine, and e-learning in healthcare provision.
“This new architecture is expected to provide a framework for improved health outcomes and financial protection of families in fidelity to the State’s solemn duty to guarantee the health and welfare of all her citizens,” reads the dispatch.
The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF)
The National Hospital Insurance Fund is a State Corporation that was established in 1966 with an aim of providing medical insurance cover to all its members and all their dependents declared during registration.
Nonetheless, the Act of Parliament that established NHIF has been reviewed over the years to include changing healthcare needs of Kenyans and restructuring in the health sector.
President William Ruto in May this year announced proposed changes that would see current NHIF rates of between Sh150 and Sh1,700 per month replaced with a flat rate of 2.7 per cent of one’s gross salary.