The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Cleopa Mailu, has suspended the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cap that limited outpatient visits to only four per year.
In a notice released earlier in the week, NHIF had introduced a list of conditions that many construed as being punitive to beneficiaries.
In the measures that were supposed to take effect form 1st November, NHIF stated that:
- A card (NHIF) could only be used 4 times a year.
- The bills should not exceed Kshs. 1500 per visit for national scheme members and civil servants from job group A to K.
In addition, patients would be required to carry these documents.
- Copy of NHIF smartcard
- Copy of contributor’s card
- Copy of ID if the patient is a spouse
- Copy of birth certificate if the patient is a baby over 6 months
- Copy of birth notification is patient is a child below 6 months
Irate Kenyans took to social to critique the move noting that the limit was equivalent to self-funding treatment since the total amount was less or equal to what beneficiaries pay in a year (4 times a year would total to Kshs. 6,000).
Here are some reactions from Kenyans on Twitter.
Surely for all the tax we pay NHIF should be able to offer a bit more, no? 1,500/-? Politics aside we’re all a disease away from poverty.
— Larry Asego (@LarryAsego) November 3, 2017
That the CS Health can unilaterally make a decision on NHIF is as bad an accountability problem as the 4 visits/year directive.
— Dr. Ouma Oluga (@fnoluga) November 4, 2017
New NHIF policies is a middle finger to the poor as it now restricts usage to only 4 times a year, the rich can as many times. Witchcraft pic.twitter.com/Agch1ysWsD
— Kenya West© (@KinyanBoy) November 4, 2017
Can NHIF be made optional? You cant force me to pay.. then start dishing out such terms and conditions… NO! Cant do
— Mercy Njueh (@senator_mercy) November 4, 2017
If NHIF insists on its retrogressive strategies, then let our legislature make it's contribution optional. I can't pay 20k and get 6k of it.
— Dr.C.Kelvin Rotich (@CK_rotich) November 4, 2017
NHIF IS TURNING INTO A PYRAMID SCHEME. Blatant theft.
— DUNCAN OMODING (@Omodingson) November 4, 2017
Mailu’s move will come as a relief to many who are forced to rely on NHIF to cover medical costs.