MPs have passed a bill that will require every Kenyan over the age of 18 to be a member of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
In the changes to the NHIF Act passed on Tuesday evening, employers will be forced to top up contributions of those who pay less than Kshh500 monthly.
In the remodelled Universal Health Coverage (UHC) scheme, every adult should contriute Ksh500 monthly or Ksh6,000 annually for outpatient and inpatient services, including maternity, dialysis, cancer treatment and surgery.
“A person who has attained the age of 18 years and is not a beneficiary shall register as a member of the fund,” reads a new clause in the bill.
The MPs however rejected amendments that would have seen the National and County Governments foot the bills of poor households.
“The national government and county government shall be liable as a contributor to the Fund in respect of all public officers, state officers and employees working in the national government and national government entities. Any other employer shall be liable as a contributor to the Fund in respect of its employees,” the new changes state.
The NHIF board will determine the rate that the unemployed youth will pay to the Fund.
“The base of contribution will be Ksh500. But there are employees in the private sector who contribute Ksh150 or Ksh300. The import of this amendment is to ensure that the private sector employers simply top up the difference to ensure employees base is Ksh500,” said Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya.
Currently, 25.36 million Kenyans are aged 18 years and above, and the change in law will add at least 16.36 million contributors to NHIF.
“The essence is to ensure a self-contributor without a family pays a different rate from one with a family. The unemployed whether young or old and who is not an indigent will have a different rate,” Mr Kimunya said.