The NHIF Amendment Act, 2022, received approval from the Kenyan Parliament on December 21, 2021, and was subsequently signed into law by the former President on January 10, 2022. This Act serves to amend the National Hospital Insurance Fund Act of 1998 and introduces several significant changes to the NHIF’s functioning and scope.
One of the key modifications introduced by the NHIF Amendment Act is the expansion of the NHIF’s coverage to encompass a broader population. Under the Act, all Kenyans without any other health insurance coverage, including those who are self-employed or unemployed, are now eligible for NHIF coverage.
Moreover, the Act mandates employers to make a matching contribution to the NHIF, equivalent to the amount contributed by their employees. This new requirement means that employers will now contribute twice the amount they previously did to the NHIF.
The NHIF Amendment Act also introduces a new benefit package for NHIF members. This expanded package includes a wider range of services, such as cancer treatment, dialysis, and organ transplants, aiming to provide more comprehensive healthcare coverage.
To ensure effective management and oversight, the Act establishes a dedicated management board for the NHIF, responsible for its day-to-day operations. The NHIF Amendment Act carries significant implications for the Kenyan healthcare system, anticipated to improve accessibility to healthcare for millions of citizens and enhance the benefits offered to NHIF members.
However, the Act has been met with some criticisms. Concerns have been raised about the potential burden on businesses due to the matching employer contribution. Some also argue that the new benefit package might be financially unsustainable in the long run.
The proposed rates in the NHIF Amendment Act are as follows:
- Employees: 2.75% of their gross monthly salary.
- Employers: 2.75% of their employees’ gross monthly salary.
- Self-employed individuals: 2.75% of their declared or assessed gross monthly income, with a minimum contribution of Ksh. 300.
Previously, the rates were capped at Kes. 1,700 for individuals earning more than Kes. 100,000 and a minimum contribution of Kes. 500 for the self-employed category. The new rates aim to enhance the NHIF’s financial stability and ensure more inclusive healthcare coverage for vulnerable populations.