NHIF to Only Cover Covid-19 Costs for Govt Workers

  • National Health and Insurance Fund (NHIF) Offices Building in Nairobi. Monday, November 18, 2019.
    National Health and Insurance Fund (NHIF) Building in Nairobi. Monday, November 18, 2019.
    Simon Kiragu
  • The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) will only cover Covid-19 treatment costs for government workers.

    Responding to questions from Kenyans on Wednesday, November 18, Kenya's Director-General of Health, Dr. Patrick Amoth, explained that the government state corporation with a mandate to provide health insurance to Kenyans could only cover civil servants.

    "All public servants serving under the national government, including healthcare workers, are covered by NHIF. We have also had discussions with counties to come onboard under NHIF umbrella for insurance of county workers," he explained.

    Kenyans questioned the reasoning behind making the statutory payment if it only ended up covering civil servants.

    An image of Patrick Amoth
    Ministry of Health acting Director-General Dr. Patrick Amoth speaking to the media at Afya House.
    The Standard

    "Myself and other Kenyans pay for NHIF monthly without fail why is it that we won't be covered and public servants and healthcare workers are covered? What's the logic?" a concerned citizen posed.

    "But of what use is NHIF to the rest of us non-civil servants who have been religiously making payments for years? We need to prioritize frontline workers but let's also work to ensure every Kenyan is covered," another added.

    By the end of 2019, there were 865,200 members of staff working for the government in ministries and parastatals, independent institutions like the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), county governments and the disciplined forces, making the government the single biggest employer.

    The DG then broke down the actual costs of treating the various types of Covid-19 patients.

    "Managing asymptomatic patient costs averagely 21K per day. Mild cases require an average of Ksh 21,369 per day, severe cases average cost Ksh 51,684 per day. While critical care (ICU) costs Ksh 71,283 per day. 65% of these costs are contributed by PPEs," he revealed.

    On November 11, the government said Kenyans would have to foot the bills for Covid-19 in both public and private hospitals.

    “The cost burden of financing Covid-19 testing and treatment for NHIF beneficiaries both in the National Scheme and the Enhanced Medical Schemes would not be financially viable since it was not envisaged in the current NHIF premiums computation and the existing benefits package,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe explained to the Senate.

    According to information from the NHIF website, its core business and mandate is to provide accessible, affordable, sustainable and quality health insurance for all Kenyan citizens.

    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.
    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.