The National Assembly Budget Committee wants the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to cover the costs of assistive devices such as wheelchairs for its patients in new reforms.
In a report released on Friday, the Committee recommended including the new cover in the NHIF Amendment Bill proposed by Nyandarua Woman Representative Faith Gitau.
Only principal contributors will benefit from the changes should the new proposals be passed in Parliament.
Common assistive devices used by patients include hearing aids, autism connect, and assistive limbs, among others.
"Furthermore, the Budget Committee recommended that the National Health Insurance Fund cover the costs of assistive devices for contributors exclusively.
"This decision avoids amending the principal NHIF Act to shift the responsibility for these costs to the national government," read the report in part.
The new proposal could be cost-effective for patients who occasionally have to spend money to purchase devices that cost hundreds of thousands.
For instance, the normal wheelchair averagely costs Ksh20,000 while other advanced ones cost Ksh100,000 and above.
On the other hand, a good hearing aid costs over Ksh6,000.
Additionally, the MPs approved the NHIF amendment bill 2023, which seeks to enhance penalties for insurance companies who have occasionally been accused of taking advantage of prices.
One of the offences being targeted in the bill includes failing to settle claims by patients and taking ownership of an insurer's property.
"A person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction on a first offence- in the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding Ksh 5 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
"In the case of a company, to a fine not exceeding Ksh10 million," read the bill in part.
The amendments come amid proposals to split the fund into three mainly; Primary Healthcare Fund, Social Health Insurance Fund and Emergency, Chronic and Critical Illness Fund to better cater for various illnesses affecting Kenyans.
Details of the new monthly deductions for the three Funds are yet to be known.