Life could get tougher for parents of more than 2.5 million learners in private schools in Kenya as plans get underway to ask them to pay for insurance cover for their children.
The arrangement could start as early as next month after Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) entered into an agreement with National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and MINET Kenya.
Under the plan, parents will have to cater for their children's medical cover from preprimary by paying an amount that will soon be announced.
KPSA signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NHIF and MINET Kenya in what it will see school going children both in primary and secondary school benefit from the holistic medical cover.
KPSA national chairman Mutheu Kasanga said the biometric system of insurance will not only cover students in schools but also during weekends and holidays. Ms Kasanga said all school assets will also be covered in the deal.
Mr Kasanga said the association will ask the government to make it compulsory because it would drive one of the pillars of the Big Four agenda of Universal Health Care. He did not explain what would happen to children who are already covered by their parents' NHIF and private insurance plans.
"The medical cover will cover all learners starting from pre-primary to secondary school unlike in public schools' cover which was launched last year May which only covers secondary school students. In this agreement with NHIF and MINET Kenya, all those who are covered will also access the services in any accredited hospital any time including weekends and holidays," said Ms Kasanga.
This upgraded insurance policy will be different from that in public school going students which requires a letter from head teachers to access medical service hence excluding beneficiaries from accessing services during weekends and holidays.
Speaking during KPSA annual directors conference in a Mombasa hotel, the chairperson said more than two million students who will be covered will be required to register biometrically to avoid fraud and also the schools will be saved millions of shillings resulting from different school unrest as they are now fully covered.
"The cover will not only deal with curative diseases but will also cover preventive and psycho-social diseases we are experiencing in our institutions," said Ms Kasanga.
MINET Kenya Managing director Sammy Muthui said the cover will be comprehensive covering curative diseases, school fires, accidents, depression and other mental issues.
The MD said the partnership with NHIF will be part of their move to ensure funds are well monitored and well accounted.
"The cover will ensure all activities in schools go on without interference even if there is an accident. Parents will no longer be forced to incur huge loses whenever there is any accident including fires, school unrest, school bus accidents since they will be fully covered," said Mr Muthui.
He added, "The cover will concentrate in five pillars which will include curative; a pillar which will be mostly handled by NHIF since they are expertise on that field. This will involve building state of the art clinics in all registered private schools."
Last year in May, the government launched insurance covers in all public secondary school students for the duration of full-time study but it has been dogged by hick ups raising questions over its efficiency.
For eligibility, a student must be enrolled in a public Secondary School and is in the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) database and must be have been registered with NHIF.