, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – More than 19,000 civil servants have sought outpatient medical care since a new insurance scheme was launched by the government on January 1.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) Richard Kerich, up to 19,231 of the scheme beneficiaries had accessed outpatient services with 18 being referred to inpatient care.
“The scheme has taken off smoothly… to us at NHIF it is beyond our expectations. On the issue of life cover and last expense we have already made payments for the 11 who died. NHIF makes payments within 24 hours of notification,” he said.
He said that the list of accredited hospitals will be continuously revised after completion of talks with the Kenya Association of Private Hospitals.
Union of Kenya Civil Servants Secretary General Tom Odege has challenged public hospitals to improve their services to match those of competing private hospitals.
“People are now going for quality and if the government hospitals do not improve they will lag behind. They must just rise up and compete because we are talking about value for money,” he said adding that private wings should exist in all public hospital for access by civil servants.
NHIF in conjunction with the union of civil servants will next week conduct training for 600 members so that they aid in disseminating information on the benefits of the scheme as well as their rights.
The cover which is designed for civil servants and the disciplined forces caters for the principal member, spouse and three dependent children under 18 years of age and up to a maximum of 25 years of age if still a full time student.
NHIF will also make a provision for employees who wish to cover additional members to pay extra premiums directly.
Chronic diseases like HIV/AIDS and cancer are also covered as well as dental and optical care.
Previously, civil servants received Sh375 per month as medical allowance while the highest was Sh2,940.