COTU in strike threat over higher health rates

April 28, 2012 2:52 pm


COTU will issue the strike notice on May 1/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28 – The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) is set to issue a strike notice to protest the implementation of the new National Hospital Insurance Fund rates during this year’s Labour day on Tuesday next week.

Speaking during a press conference on Saturday, Secretary General Francis Atwoli claimed that NHIF was tainted with corruption and that it should be reformed first before the rates are effected.

He vowed that the organization will continue to oppose the rates until the directive is reversed.

“Someone says that he received a certain amount of money from NHIF and if you ask him where his office is, he says that he does not know. And there are people saying that all everyone should be deducted a certain amount of money,” he stated.

The National Hospital Insurance Fund will start deducting higher rates from its members starting next month despite unresolved issues raised about the scheme.

The fund informed all employers and contributors that they should remit the enhanced contribution rates from May 1 this year.

“Inpatient and outpatient cover will include consultation, investigation, medication as well as all pre-existing conditions including chronic illnesses,” read a newspaper advert by the national health insurer.

The outpatient cover scheme has raised questions over the amount to be paid and possible loopholes that might see cases of fraud.

The new rates will see those earning below Sh6,000 contribute Sh150 monthly, those earning above Sh50,000 will pay Sh1,000 while those earning more than Sh100,000 will pay Sh2,000 from a flat rate of Sh320 per month.

There has also been a controversy over the mechanism used to select the hospitals, clinics and health centres to offer the services.

The list of contracted providers is expected to be available from May 15 so that members can select their preferred health facility.

COTU lost a court case in its attempt to block the NHIF from implementing the rates.

NHIF started offering outpatient cover in January with the introduction of the teachers’ and civil servants scheme.

He further called on the president to address the issue of the minimum wage during this year’s Labour Day celebrations.

“We have not said that we want 60 or 70 percent. We have just asked that the make adjustments to the collective bargaining agreement,” he said.


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