High court suspends new NHIF rates
19 May 2015, 10:16
Nyahururu - The high court has suspended the new National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) rates that were expected to be effected beginning May this year.
This is after a non-governmental organization in Nyandarua county, Areca Daps moved to court demanding the suspension.
Lady Justice Monica Mbaru termed the case as urgent and ruled that the new fees be stopped until the case is heard and determined.
Over 10 000 members of the National Hospital Insurance Fund from Nyandarua County through their chairman, Michael Munene had sued the Fund management board and the Attorney General for approving the new rates.
The residents who are members of Areca-Daps, an organization that has been contacted by NHIF had expressed concerns that they could not raise the KES 500 proposed.
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Under the new rates gazetted through a Legal Notice published in April, the lowest income earner with a KES 5 999 monthly salary will pay KES 150 while those earning more than KES 100 000 will pay KES 1 700.
Those self-employed, where the residents fall, will pay KES 500. The new contributions are aimed at rolling out a free universal healthcare programme for all Kenyans from June this year.
The residents argued that they might be forced to withdraw from the fund if the new rates are not reviewed or given special offer to continue paying KES 160 since they live below the means.
The members drawn from the informal sector, including boda boda operators and quarry workers, said they were a distraught lot and could not afford the proposed KES 500 per month.
Areca Daps Director, Dr Michael Munene said they opted to move to court since the government had not intervened.
He said the organization was straining to raise funds for its members who are mostly elderly people, saying they have now resulted to advising members to present anything that can be sold to raise the fees.
The judge ordered that all the parties involved be served with the orders and file their replies before May 22 this year.
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