Kenyan citizens will be required to contribute 2.75 percent of their income to the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) Starting March 1, 2024. The government has assured that vulnerable individuals who are unable to afford the KES 300 contribution will still be able to access healthcare services for free, as the Kenya Kwanza administration will cover their expenses.
The new directive will result in a significant increase in contributions for high-income earners, exceeding eight times their previous payments, as the government pushes forward with the implementation of contentious universal health coverage.
Contrary to earlier promises made by several state officials, including health CS Susan Nakhumicha, the 2.75 percent contribution has not been capped at a maximum of KES 5,000. This means that deductions for top earners will sharply rise.
For individuals earning salaries up to KES 30,000 per month, there will be a decrease in contributions ranging from three percent to 45 percent. However, those earning between KES 30,000 and KES 100,000 will experience an increase in contributions ranging from one percent to 77 percent. Higher-income earners, above KES 100,000, will face even greater deductions.
Salaried workers earning KES100,000 will be paying KES 2,750, up from the current 1,700, representing a 62 percent rise. Those drawing half a million shillings in gross pay will see their deductions rise eight times to Sh13,750 unless a cap is introduced.
Speaking at a church event in Kwanza Sub-county of Trans Nzoia, Nakhumicha highlighted issues within the healthcare sector, including drug shortages and a lack of access to medical personnel, medicines, and equipment in nearby health facilities.
It was further stated that the government is finalizing public consultations on new regulations aimed at addressing these challenges and ensuring that Kenyans can receive necessary healthcare services efficiently. The new regulations will also mean that those diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as cancer, hypertension, and diabetes will be covered through the ‘Emergency Chronic and Critical Fund.’
“Some of the leaders have come to my office asking me to waive hospital bills for patients diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as cancer. If we waive these hospital bills, these hospitals will collapse; that is why we set up this fund to support our health care,” explained the CS.