KENYA—Dr. Robert Pukose, Chairperson of the National Assembly Health Committee, has disclosed that the present National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cards will be valid until December 2024.
In an interview with Spice FM on Wednesday morning of February 7, Pukose confirmed that Kenyans will be able to access NHIF services throughout the year before shifting to the new Social Healthcare Insurance Fund (SHIF).
This interview came after citizens expressed concerns about the continuation of NHIF, impending healthcare sector reforms, and the Court of Appeal’s decision in January 2024 to enable the implementation of the Social Health Insurance Act.
These changes include the formation of a transition committee to oversee the transfer from the now-defunct National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF), which will be administered by the Social Health Authority.
Furthermore, offering insight on the transition into SHIF, the legislator indicated that the Social Health Authority (SHA) was yet to be fully functioning because the newly constituted agency is still reliant on NHIF staff and secretariat.
He further highlighted that there were no individuals who had been hired for the SHA, what has happened is that there has been a gazettement of the board of the SHA
The newly constituted transition committee will now be required to produce progress reports on its operations in terms of assets, liabilities, and functionality every six months, with a final report due at the end of its mission.
“We have a transition committee, which has been allocated six months to manage transition issues. As parliament, we will have future meetings with them to brief us on progress, and after six months, they will provide us with a report on how they managed the changeover,” he added.
The SHIF, which is slated to replace the NHIF, will start registering Kenyans in January through an obligatory registration process.
Pukose further noted that no deductions or contributions to the SHIF have yet been made, thus anyone interested in registering for NHIF services can do so until the end of the year, when the transfer to SHIF is fully completed.
Patients seeking health treatments in dispensaries and level one to three hospitals will not be required to pay anything under the Primary Insurance Act.
Those seeking medical services at level four to six medical centers would be asked to pay 2.75 percent of their earnings if employed, and a minimum of Sh300 (US$1.88) if self-employed, based on their SHIF income.
The SHIF payment would also benefit Kenyans by providing Emergency Critical and Chronic Illness services through the Emergency Critical and Chronic Illness Fund.