Senate Summons NHIF Management Over Failure To Cover Covid-19 Testing Charges

The entrance of NHIF building
The entrance of NHIF building. [Photo/ Courtesy]

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is on the spot following revelations that it is not covering the Covid-19 testing charges for its members.

The senate summoned the Insurer’s top management after Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala claimed in his statement that NHIF has not been covering the testing charges incurred by Hotel and restaurant staff who are undergoing mandatory testing.

“They should state the reasons why the insurer is not covering costs,”Malala said.

Hoteliers were subjected to mandatory testing of all its staff as a precautionary measure before reopening their premises. The ministry of Health said that the measure was to help curb the spread of Covid-19 even as people visited eateries.

The toursim CS Najib Balala said that the move to reduce the testing charges was meant to cushion the hospitality industry which is one of the worst hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Health CS Mutahi Kagwe had earlier said that restaurant and hotel owners would pay between Sh 2,000 and Sh 4,000 for each member of staff testing.

Malala sought clarification from the insurer on what is required for them to start covering the costs.

“One of the NHIF’s features states that it has no exclusions for all medial conditions except cosmetic procedures,” Malala said.

Nominated Senator Petronila Were also contributed to the statement querying why NHIF was not covering testing charges given that it had formed a task force to implement reforms to deal with Universal Health Coverage.

“The UHC has never been as important as it is now during the Covid-19 pandemic. That report [produced by the task-force] has already been released and submitted should be used by the NHIF in the implementation of reforms,” she said.

According to Migor Senator Ochillo Ayacko, reports that NHIF could be facing financial troubles, considering that it covers the majority of Kenyans, could be the reason behind its failure to cover the Covid-19 testing costs. He urged the house to probe the insurer’s financial soundness.

It is no longer a rumour. It is known largely to many people that NHIF could be in financial trouble,” he said.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula said that NHIF’s failure to cover the costs was punishing the already financially-strained members of the hospitality industry.

The Deputy Speaker Margaret Kamar, directed the house adhoc committee on Covid-19 to summon the NHIF management to explain the concerns.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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