The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is set to allow Kenyan men to cover more than wife with just Sh. 500.
This is according to new regulations that have been presented before the National Assembly for debate and adoption. If the new regulations are passed, men in polygamous relationships will only be required to add an extra Sh. 500 to cover the rest of their wives.
This will take their monthly NHIF pay to Sh. 1,000.
Where a standard contributor includes more than one spouse as a beneficiary, the contributor shall remit an additional contribution to the Fund,” the new regulations state in part.
“The rate of the additional contribution referred to in the sub-regulation shall be five hundred shillings in respect of each spouse.”
This will set the national health insurer apart from other local private health insurance firms.
Currently, private insurance firms recognize the principal member, one registered spouse and up to four children for medical covers.
“The law as it is structured now allows for one wife, so currently our contracts read additional beneficiaries,” Jubilee Holdings chief executive Julius Kipng’etich told a local daily.
A few months ago, the government had announced that it would introduce a plan that would compel every Kenyan above the age of 18 to start paying the NHIF Sh. 6,000 per year.
According to the Economic Survey report, NHIF membership had risen from 4.4 million Kenyans to 8.4 million people from 2013 to the start of 2020.
NHIF has however been facing sustained criticism from Kenyans over its health coverage. Kenyans who have been paying the lowest minimum amount of Sh. 500 have been complained over being turned away at hospitals.
President William Ruto recently announced that monthly payments to the NHIF would be revised upwards. “Our health agenda is premised on fundamental reforms in the way healthcare is financed and provided. Contributions to the National Health Insurance Fund will now be graduated and will depend on people’s income,” he said.