Thousands of Kenyans cannot access health services using their National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) card as their details are not reflected in the system despite paying Sh35 million in the year to June 2018.
NHIF acting Chief Executive Officer Nicodemus Odongo on Tuesday shocked a parliamentary committee when he revealed that most contributors who use M-Pesa to pay for their cover used wrong details and hence the money cannot reflect in their medical cards.
“I don’t know the number of people affected, because members pay different amounts while others chose to pay their contribution for the whole year,” Mr Odongo said. “We will be able to provide the information in two days.”
Mr Odongo could not provide the exact number of people affected, but it is estimated that about 70,000 people are affected by the anomalies.
MPs also heard that in a month, NHIF collects between Sh2.8 to Sh3.2 billion in contribution from its members.
Members of the National Assembly Public Investment Committee accused NHIF of neglecting the concerns and plights of suffering Kenyans by failing to put up measures to cushion them against such errors.
“Sh35 million in one single year is not a small amount and NHIF is putting the lives of poor Kenyans in jeopardy as they cannot access health services using their cards due to mistakes made by the company,” said Wajir East MP Rashid Amin.
Mr Amin has called on the office of the Auditor General to conduct a special audit on the unclaimed Sh35 million currently in the NHIF account.
The MPs demanded to know the whereabouts of the Sh35 million as NHIF admitted that it has not handed it to the unclaimed assets authority as required by the law.
“Where does this money go, is it in a suspense account somewhere? It is an illegality to sit on money that belongs to someone whom you don’t know,” said the committee chairman Abdulswamad Nassir.
“Ideally, your systems should be designed in a manner that it reverses the money and send it back to the person who used wrong details. If this Sh35 million is just for one year, what about the previous years? asked Mr Nassir.
Wajir North MP Ahmed Abdisalan accused NHIF of putting the lives of thousands of poor households at risk.
“This a matter of life and death, very many poor people are struggling to pay their contributions in order to access health services but NHIF is not recognising these contributions,” Mr Abdisalan said.
Mr Odongo assured MPs that the money is not lost but had just not been reconciled to the contributors account.
The committee is set meet the NHIF team again today as it sets to conclude the matter of members contributions and other audit queries raised by the outgoing Auditor General in his 2017/2018 audit report.