Teachers now want the National Treasury to release an additional Sh8.9 billion towards their medical cover, saying they have been left exposed after the expiry of the previous scheme.
Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) said the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) requires Sh23.9 billion to provide a comprehensive medical cover to the teachers.
However, the government has allocated only Sh15 billion towards the scheme, which falls short of the quotation by NHIF, and are adamant there are no more funds.
Kuppet Secretary-General Akello Misori said the medical scheme for teachers by Minet expired on October 31 and NHIF has been engaging with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) but it is not willing to provide the medical scheme at Sh15 billion.
Mr Misori said the Sh15 billion allocation is pegged on teachers’ contributing Sh9 billion while the government will chip in Sh6 billion that was approved by Parliament.
“We are urgently calling upon Parliament and the Treasury to urgently provide funds for the teachers’ medical scheme currently under review. The bottleneck is the Sh8.9 billion that the government is not willing to release,” said Mr Misori in a statement.
“The previous medical cover expired last month and teachers are now living in total anxiety as they are not sure when they will get the next cover,” he added.
Mr Misori said teachers are okay with the comprehensive cover by NHIF, but that the ongoing impasse means they have been left exposed.
In 2019, TSC awarded a Sh27 billion medical cover tender to Minet Insurance Kenya for a period of three years, which elapsed on October 31.
Mr Misori also challenged TSC to open up the tender for the new medical scheme so that the best bidder, who will provide teachers with the best cover, is picked.
Early in October, Kuppet said it did not want the Minet contract renewed and instead urged TSC to engage NHIF as the new provider. The union cited frustrations by teachers under the Minet cover saying they wanted a medical scheme that would meet their needs and be given a say on the same.
They lamented that TSC forced teachers to register with Minet without allowing them to participate in the process of identifying and picking the scheme administrator and health providers.
“NHIF would be the best cover for teachers but if the government does not add the Sh8.9 billion, then it will not be possible to cover teachers through NHIF,” said Mr Misori.
“Without provision of the additional amount, then teachers will be out of cover and will be left exposed should they fall sick,” he said.
He said that in a National Treasury letter to TSC dated June 30, , the Exchequer maintained that accounting officers should avoid requesting for additional funds outside what was approved by Parliament.
Consequently, Mr Misori called upon the National Assembly to allocate the additional funds through a supplementary budget as a matter of priority.
“We urge the National Assembly to reallocate the needed funds to let teachers have the medical cover they desire. We want teachers to enjoy the best services, which do not come cheap,” he said.