By Kendi Meme
With the advent of insurance policies in Kenya, family health policies were also introduced. For the longest time, the term insurance was synonymous with the car insurance; medical covers were and still surprisingly remain an avant-garde notion.
Family health insurance is a plan that covers one’s closest family members in the event of illnesses, accidents, and injuries. The beneficiaries mainly include spouses and children. In Kenya, there has been a proliferation of insurance companies that offer family medical plans.
Most people who work in the public sector in Kenya are familiar with the National Hospital Insurance Fund commonly referred to as NHIF.
NHIF was established in the year 1967 under an Act of Parliament in order to offer affordable, reliable and accessible medical covers. It was run under an Act of Parliament before it was enacted as an Act in 1998 but was later revised in 2012 to meet the changing tides made in the health industry. While NHIF is the oldest and most affordable insurance, there are other insurance firms and even recently banks that offer medical covers.
Some of the reasons that inform the decision of taking a family medical policy include financial security, affordability and health emergencies such as accidents. Many medical covers are very flexible to suit a person’s specific needs with regards to payment modes and cover for beneficiaries. While NHIF mostly covers those in the formal sector, there are those who still begrudgingly part with the requisite Ksh 500 slash from their gross salaries and do not appreciate its necessity.
Others, especially in the private sector, blatantly refuse to pay this small premium probably because they are not well informed of the need and benefits that accrue to policyholders and their loved ones.
More education is being offered to inform all Kenyans on the importance of taking up a medical plan for one’s family. Not only is it very affordable but also convenient and with nothing to lose other than parting with little money every month.
There is no excuse as to why one should not create a medical plan for their loved ones. All car owners pay insurance for their cars by law; how much more can one do for their family members? At the start of 2018, the number of beneficiaries covered hit a record 24 million Kenyans and a 7 million Kenyans membership. This is a step in the right direction that was mostly influenced by the government’s drive to register Kenyans in the informal sector. One should also take it upon themselves to provide a family medical plan. The procedures are easy, legibility threshold is easily achievable and the cover plans innumerable.
It is incumbent upon the County Governments to ensure that all its locals are insured either as beneficiaries or policyholders in the newly proposed Universal Health Care in order to ensure a healthy people for a prosperous country.
It is also prudent for locals to make themselves conversant with medical policies by carrying out research in order to find a medical cover that is most suitable for one’s needs.