, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16 – Civil Servants have on Monday objected to the over 500 percent increment of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) premiums and said it would put a lot of pressure on their already low salaries.
The Kenya Civil Servants Welfare Association accused NHIF of failing to consult prior to the increment which takes effect next month.
Secretary General Francis Ngariuku faulted NHIF for what he termed as making a unilateral decision to increase the members’ contribution.
“That one is not acceptable, there must be education to the members, there must also be education through the media telling people what benefits they will be getting apart from paying that much money and there has to be consensus before laws or regulations are made,” Mr Ngariuku protested.
He warned that if the contributions were not reduced to a reasonable amount, civil servants would seek alternative means including establishing their own medical scheme.
“We know that change is inevitable but what they need is sufficient money to care for the medical services of their members,” he said.
“But the way it seems is that this organisation is going to be a multi billion organisation and that money perhaps won’t even be used up by the medical services of the members,” he added.
NHIF recently gazzetted new contributory rates that moved away from the Sh320 maximum contribution to a progressive rate of up to Sh2, 000.
The lowest contributor will now pay Sh150 which applies to those earning less than Sh6, 000, while the highest contributor will fork out Sh2,000 for those earning more than Sh100,000.
The introduction of these new rates has received opposition from the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) and the private sector through Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) who have challenged this decision in court arguing that there was no commensurate communication on the benefits that would apply.
One of the cases will be heard on Friday August 20.
But Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o has previously defended the move and said the new rates were the only way for the scheme to provide health services to low income earners.