Kenya: Medical Insurance Restored As Nairobi Finally Pays Sh57m

9 January 2020

Nairobi MCAs and staff can now breathe a sigh of relief as the Executive has released funds for their medical insurance cover.

This has been lacking since First Assurance, a firm that inked a deal with the assembly in September 2019, pulled out over non-payment of premiums totalling Sh57.46 million.

The accrued premium for MCAs' medical cover, under the Nairobi County Assembly Members Group Medical Insurance Scheme, stood at Sh31,149,459.

That for assembly staff under the Nairobi County Assembly Staff Group Medical Insurance Scheme totalled Sh26,306,670.

COMPLAINTS

The indefinite suspension of the deal, that also covered MCAs' families, caused anxiety among the legislators, who accused Nairobi Finance Executive, Ms Pauline Kahiga, of purposely failing to pay the outstanding amount.

Minority leader, Mr David Mberia, raised the issue last week, saying members of county assembly and their families were at risk.

"Right now one of us is seriously sick and has spent close to Sh400,000 from her pocket on medical bills. She is in need as she has spent almost all her savings," said Mr Mberia.

COUNTY'S EXPLANATION

However, Ms Kahiga said on Tuesday that the payments had been made and explained that the delay was due to the assembly's failure to supply details of the cover.

She said the information was only keyed on December 30, 2019 and an alert then sent to her office, so she processed the payments on January 4, 2020.

Speaker Beatrice Elachi confirmed that the payment.

"I have no reason to deny the assembly the health cover. The delay was as a result of the assembly's failure to load the required information in the system to facilitate the payment," Ms Elachi said.

"The issue of who is the bona fide clerk of the assembly also contributed to the delay."

Reached for comment, Clerk Jacob Ngwele said he processed both payments before MCAs kicked him out of office in October 2019.

FIRM'S NOTICE

First Assurance pulled out of the deal in December 2019, insisting that the outstanding premium had to be fully settled for any continuation of service.

On December 11 that year, the firm wrote a demand notice to the Office of the Clerk of the County Assembly, asking the assembly to facilitate the payment before December 18 for the deal to remain.

It requested urgently action, noting this would enable the company to pay service providers on agreed dates.

First Assurance also noted that all premiums for medical insurance are payable annually at the beginning of the coverage period as per the amendment of Section 156 sub-section (2) of the Insurance Act Cap.487. The firm reminded Nairobi that it had contravened the directive.

"In view of the premium position, we are kindly advising that we shall discontinue all credit arrangements with the service providers unless we receive the premium on or before December 18, 2019. We are afraid the premium must be paid in full for the service to be rendered," stated a letter signed by Rufus Maina.

In its reply, the county requested an extension of the concession period but the firm stood its ground.

"We reiterate that credit arrangements shall resume once we are in sight of the premium in our account," Mr Maina said in a response on December 20.

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