Kenyans might soon be able to be able to receive a partial relief of Covid-19 treatment costs should on-going discussions bear fruits.
The National Hospital Insurance Fund has revealed that the discussion going on within the board of management aims to ensure that Kenyans are cushioned financially while at the same time ensuring that the fund remains sustainable.
The fund has previously maintained that Covid-19 patients to continue to pay for their treatment costs as the disease remains a pandemic with many unknowns, and that the current treatment costs vary wildly.
Current Covid-19 hospitalisation costs vary outrageously, with hospitals accused of extorting patients.
For instance, costs for patients with severe disease in ICUs spill over Sh100,000 a day in some private hospitals.
“There is a discussion we have held informally with the board and one of the things that we will have to revisit is to look at how we can be able to supplement Covid-19 patients to be able to enjoy some extend of cover,” Lewis Nguyai said on Thursday.
Nguyai is the new NHIF Board chairman and has taken over from Hannah Mureithi whose tenure has ended.
“Obviously there has to be real evaluation in terms of actuarial to make sure that the fund still sustains itself but we want to say that even though Coviid-19 is very extensive and is an emotive issue,” he said.
The chairman added: “There are a whole range of very many ailments that exists and for that matter we want to make sure that the fund universally takes care of each Kenyan and hopefully including Covid-19.”
The Kemri model showed costs for asymptomatic patients in hospitals should range from Sh21,359 per day to Sh24,705 for patients with severe disease but not in ICU.
This would still make Covid-19 the most expensive disease for insurers because of the high number of patients.
Nguyai has committed to guide the management in ensuring all Kenyans have access to healthcare services without financial hardships.
He called on all Kenyans who are able to pay for their health insurance contributions, to pay and urged all leaders and philanthropists to identify and support those who cannot in an effort to actualise the commitment to health for all.
“If we chose to cover huge pandemics the income versus the expenditure would be far less and for that reason there is need for serious management diligence and serious marketing to ensure that the fund offers the service,” he added.
Nguyai noted that the board was mandated with the implementation of the 55 recommendations with 31 so far having been implemented successfully in collaboration with the Health Ministry.
His first project is to ensure that the remaining 24 items are implemented.
Key of these items which have commenced are the NHIF Act amendments that due to be discussed in parliament, human resource restructuring and the extensive ICT reforms that have seen many internal processes being digitized to ease service delivery and curb fraud.