The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has warned that millions of its members and their dependants risk losing their cover in case a proposed law is enacted.
According to the new law enshrined in the Huduma Namba Bill, the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) cards popularly known as Huduma Namba will be the single source of truth for all government services.
“Any government agency that requires personal particulars of a resident individual in order to provide shall at the first instance rely on the NIIMS database to authenticate the foundational data of such individual,” says clause 9 of the Huduma Bill.
This means that over 13 million NHIF principal members and their 26 million dependents cannot use any other document to get NHIF services, apart from Huduma Namba.
“Making NIIMS authenticator at the first instance of functional data will restrict access to quality and timely healthcare to beneficiaries and may ultimately hinder the realisation of UHC. Out of the 11.6 million Huduma Namba cards printed, only 5.6 million are NHIF members with their cards printed,” the NHIF told Parliament early this month.
Huduma Namba, which was introduced by the government to replace the National Identity cards, contains data such as full name, date of birth, place of birth, gender, photograph, biometric data, and nationality.
Out of over 50 million Kenyans, only 10.5 million applied for the Huduma Namba cards while only 7.3 million have collected their cards.
In order to save millions from losing their cover, NHIF wants Parliament to amend Clause 9 of the Huduma Namba Bill and delete the words “at the first instance”.
In their report, the National Assembly on Administration and National Security Committee has agreed with NHIF, and the proposals now await debate in parliament.
“Making NIIMS authenticator at the first instance of functional data will restrict access to quality and timely services,” the committee said.