Health Cabinet Secretary Wafula Nakhumicha has revealed that National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) will soon be replaced by the National Social Health Insurance Fund (NSHIF).
This, she says will enable every Kenyan to access medical services throughout the country under Universal Health Care.
Nakhumicha said the government is seeking partners in a fund drive to see all Kenyans registered in the health scheme, enabling them to access better health services.
Membership grew to 15.4 million by January 2023, but those identified as active stood at only 6.7 million and 5.3 million, respectively, with NHIF linking the faster rise in defaulted contributions to economic hardships.
The latest NHIF data for the financial year ended June 2022 showed that dormant members hit 8.8 million from 5.03 million the year before, making the insurer miss its Sh90.57 billion targeted premium collections for the review period.
“The target was not achieved due to macro-economic factors in the country, which caused companies to downsize, reduce salaries, and some to close,” said NHIF in a health sector report made public by the Treasury.
“The informal sector has also faced financial challenges caused by the poor economic conditions thus making it difficult for members of this sector to make their voluntary contributions to the fund and adverse selection.”
Voluntary contributors — usually drawn from the informal sector — pay Sh500 a month to the NHIF, while those in the formal sector contribute between Sh150 and Sh1,700 every month, depending on the salary scale.
The CS spoke Thursday during the first-ever National Cancer Summit, where health practitioners disclosed that Cancer continues to be a huge burden to millions of Kenyans.
“Currently, NHIF is already running some schemes that take care of different cohorts of people. We have the one for the elderly, orphaned children, Linda Mama and Edu Afya,” CS Nakhumicha said.
“What we are going to do with the NSHIF is we want to bring the funds together so that we no longer have them in silos. When we have the schemes together, we do fundraising that gives us almost Ksh.12.6 billion.”
She noted that the move will be similar to putting up national fundraising to involve every individual contributing towards it.
Social media will be a pivotal asset in the drive.
“We are now doing the Math to see how much more the government should add so that each and every Kenyan can be able to access health care. We have done a costing and we know with this fundraising, we want to look for funds from elsewhere such as Tobacco Funds, Sports Funds, the money that comes from betting…a fraction of it and put them together to form the basis of NSHIF,” she explained.
“You and I can afford healthcare, when our people are sick, it is you and I in WhatsApp groups raising funds; what about if we do one major fundraising rather than having WhatsApp Groups?”