An ongoing probe by members of parliament continues to uncover a ghastly trail of mismanagement and alleged corruptionThe spotlight has now turned on National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) employees accused of leveraging their positions to siphon some Sh9 billion the Fund, with only a mere fraction of collected monies disbursed to settle legitimate patient claims.
The jaw-dropping figure of Sh9 billion in Work Injury Benefits Act (Wiba) premiums paid out to insurance companies over the past two financial years has revealed how institutionalised corruption runs at the insurer. Only h200 million was allocated to address the pressing needs of patients seeking medical reimbursement – a stark dissonance that has raised serious concerns about the integrity of NHIF’s operations.
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During a rigorous interrogation of NHIF CEO Samson Kuhora, lawmakers minced no words, hinting at the possibility of a sinister collusion between rogue NHIF staff and the insurance companies, swindling unsuspecting Kenyans out of their hard-earned money. The National Assembly Health Committee pulled no punches, directly challenging the Fund’s decision-making process and the motives behind exorbitant premium payouts.
The committee questioned NHIF’s intentions and expressed awareness of fraudulent activities within the organization. Committee Chair Robert Pukose underscored the gravity of the situation, cautioning, “It is clear that NHIF does not want to expose those involved in fraud, and if the committee goes ahead to make its recommendations, things won’t end well for some people.”
MPs sought an explanation from Dr. Kuhora regarding the exponential increases in premiums paid out under Wiba compared to other NHIF schemes. The figures are staggering, with claims escalating from Sh833 million in the 2020/2021 financial year to an alarming Sh2 billion in the 2022/2023 financial year.
Dr. Kuhora attempted to shed light on the situation, attributing the surge in premium payments to the unforeseen impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. He argued that the pandemic necessitated NHIF’s support for many government officers, leading to a surge in premiums to accommodate approximately 599,000 workers.
However, Dr. Kuhora faced intense scrutiny from the committee, who accused him of providing false information under oath. Committee Chair Robert Pukose vehemently refuted Dr. Kuhora’s claims regarding NHIF’s role in handling Covid-19 expenses.