NHIF revenues to reach Sh. 36bn in three years

NHIFHealth agencies have estimated that the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) members’ contributions will go to Sh. 21.4 billion this year and rise sharply to Sh. 36.4 billion by 2015/16, according to a new policy document.

Addition of new members who would be drawn from the formal sector would be responsible for the growth.

NHIF has, at present, 3.4 million members and the number is predicted to rise to 11.6 million in the next three years.

These projections and estimates are available in Sessional Paper No. 10 on Universal Health Care Coverage that was tabled in Parliament for enactment last week.

The Medical Services Minister, Anyang Nyong’o partly attributed the increased contributions to the recent injection of more than Sh. 4 billion by the government to help public servants.

The ministry has put forward various amendments to the NHIF Act of 1998. The policy document stated that the number of contributors in the informal sector will almost double to 2.2 million in 2015 and the revenue from this category will increase from Sh. 5.7 billion to Sh. 14.5 billion during the subject period.

At present the number of poor people which is estimated at 526,000, is expected to surge to 7.3 million in 2016. The estimated contributions from this category to the universal healthcare system, which will be funded by the reformed National Health Insurance Fund, will rise from the current Sh. 505 million to Sh. 7 billion in 2016.

The estimated 2.08 per cent annual increase in employment is based on the experience for the period 2003-2007 which registered a 10 per cent growth in the formal sector.

The number of household beneficiaries per employed worker will see a decline from 2.5 per cent in 2011 to 2.1 per cent in 2016.

The estimated growth will complement 16 private medical insurers whose total premiums for the year 2009 was Sh. 5.9 billion, with total claims amounting to Sh. 4.9 billion. The policy also proposed amendments to the NHIF Act,which included a new name for the fund and the reconstitution of the board as well as the staff.

The policy document also stated that the amendment will also permit the government and other partners to contribute to the fund for the coverage of certain segments of the Kenyan population as per the agreements with specific contributors.

The ministry proposed to make further amendments to fix contributions to the fund by employers at the rate of 1.5 per cent of employee’s salary. The proposed amendment to the Act said that every employer shall pay to the fund a share of contribution matching that contribution made by each employee, which shall not be deducted from the wages of his employee or otherwise recovered.

An Appeals Tribunal will be set up for arbitrating disputes between parties involved in the operations of the Act.

The policy also mentions the health benefits under the proposed universal health scheme, which include in-patient cover, out-patient cover, maternity and reproductive health cover and an expanded membership structure.

Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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