President Uhuru Kenyatta has made a big u-turn and directed that the implementation of new National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) rules be halted with immediate effect, following an outcry by Kenyans and politicians alike.
He made the announcement at a press conference at State House, Mombasa on January 14, 2020.
"Fellow Kenyans, in regards to health insurance, I am aware of the proposed changes in the fees and structures of insurance benefits by the NHIF.
"Given my administration's commitments to providing affordable healthcare, I direct the Ministry of Health to immediately halt the implementation of these proposals to allow further consultations," Kenyatta stated.
On Thursday, January 9, NHIF made changes to the terms of its cover, reviewing the number of dependants to a maximum of five children and one spouse for the national scheme. Previously, the card could accommodate up to 10 members of the same family.
It also increased the waiting period for new voluntary members from 60 days to 90 days and one is expected to have paid Ksh 6,000 upfront for the 12 months.
The new rules would have been detrimental to Kenyatta's Big 4 Agenda in relation to health.
In December 2018, Kenyatta launched the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Pilot Program dubbed Afya Care – Wema wa Mkenya to enable Kenyans access affordable healthcare.
Among leaders who had lamented over the outrageous rules were Starehe MP Chares Jaguar, Bomet Senator Christopher Langat
"There is need for NHIF to revert to the old system and altogether scrap the changes, which took effect from January 1, 2020," Langat stated during the burial of Ms Elizabeth Langat, a church elder at Chepngaina in Bomet Central on Sunday, January 12.
"The new NHIF rules will harm mwananchi by reversing the gains made by the universal healthcare program under the Big 4 Agenda.
"The NHIF board has to rescind these rules so that they do not interfere with the president’s vision of ensuring equitable access to healthcare in Kenya," Starehe MP Charles Jaguar tweeted on Friday, January 10.
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