MoH announces March launch for new Social Health Insurance Fund

MoH announces March launch for new Social Health Insurance Fund

Health CS Wafula Nakhumicha during an interview on Citizen TV on January 24, 2024. PHOTO | COURTESY

The government plans to launch the new Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) in March of this year.

Health Cabinet Secretary Wafula Nakhumicha announced during a town hall interview on Citizen TV on Wednesday night that all systems were in place to phase out the long-standing National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and transition Kenyans to SHIF.

She stated that her ministry was only awaiting approval for the Act's regulations, after which a due process would be followed to ensure that registration of individuals begins in March, followed by contributions in the same month.

“Our projection as the ministry is that by March 1, 2023, we should be able to start registration of everybody into the Social Health Authority. If we finish, earlier, we will start early. Contribution will be the same month,” she said.

According to the CS, the Ministry will begin the public participation process for the new Act in February, followed by the parliamentary process to make it law before passing it through the Attorney General for review before being gazetted into law.

“Once we are through with the regulations we will go through the process; we have advertised and in the next two weeks, we shall start going around because there is the law prescription of 14 days of public participation, that is the minimum, then we will sit down and receive feedback… we will then go the parliament for legislation and come back to the AG then I will do the gazettement,” she said.

Nakhumicha further says that global experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) were in support of the project, adding that Means Testing had already been developed to ascertain the levels of income for individuals within a family unit.

“We have done the means testing for everyone. We have received support from the WHO to develop the Means Testing criteria. Once the house has already been subjected to means testing, we already know the level of income so it doesn’t mean that we are starting from scratch,” she stated.

The announcement by CS Nakhumicha follows the Court of Appeal ruling on Friday where the three-judge bench lifted orders issued by the High Court suspending the implementation of the Social Health Insurance Act.

In their verdict delivered on Friday, Justices Patrick Kiage, Pauline Nyamweya and Grace Ngenye ruled that owing to the suspension of the roll-out of the new health fund, there is "a real and present danger to the health rights of countless citizens who are not parties to the litigation pending before our courts."

"We are persuaded that the confusion, the lacuna and the risk and harm to citizens pending the hearing and determination of the appeal is a price too dear to pay, and it would have the effect of rendering the appeal nugatory...," read the court documents seen by Citizen Digital.

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Citizen Digital NHIF Citizen TV Kenya Wafula Nakhumicha SHIF

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