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Students NHIF health cover finally takes off

Irene Githinji @gitshee

The government has rolled out a health cover tailor-made for students in public secondary schools.

President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the comprehensive health insurance cover for students by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) in April, coming against the backdrop of efforts to enable the country achieve Universal Health Care (UHC) by 2022.

The NHIF branch offices are to carry out biometric registration of students in schools and issue cards, though Form Four students will be required to exit from the scheme upon completion of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.

NHIF has custom-made the students’ enhanced package to include in and out patient services, dental, optical, daycare services, local road ambulance and emergency air rescue services, general and specialised services, overseas attention for cases not treated in the country, group personal accident cover and last expense as well as group life.

The programme is expected to cover at least three million students at an approximate cost of Sh1,350 per student annually  supported by the government.

For the outpatient, NHIF will cover consultation, diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, prescribed drugs and dressing, optical and dental services, vaccine options, chronic, pre-existing conditions and HIV/Aids including cost of ARVs covered up to the full outpatient cover, specialised renal conditions and oncology diseases as well as ambulance services.

Under the dental cover, NHIF will cover extraction, which includes surgical extraction, anaesthetic fees, hospital and operating theater cost.

It will also cover root canal, dental X-ray services, as well as accident related inpatient dental cases, will be covered under the standard inpatient surgical benefits.

NHIF will cater for consultation, eye testing prescription for ophthalmic treatment and prescription of eye spectacles, accident-related inpatient optical cases will be covered under the standard inpatient benefits.

NHIF CEO Geoffrey Mwangi explained that outpatient services will be accessed at the facilities contracted by NHIF, with school heads choosing a healthcare provider near the school for ease of access. NHIF has also ensured portability of the outpatient services even when students are on educational functions outside their schools or when off session so that they are covered all times.

“The enhanced scheme comes at an opportune moment to share with the parents a much lighter way of offsetting the costs that come with unforeseen accidents and illnesses. This will then reduce the anxiety that accompanies such incidents and illnesses, especially on finances,” said Mwangi.

NHIF has already held an inception meeting with close to 650 health care providers identified countrywide to lay down procedures and modalities of ensuring smooth delivery of services to the students. He said that various students are already benefitting from the cover with close to 600 cases treated countrywide so far.

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