Police unhappy with ‘inadequate’ new health insurance cover

Police Recruits

New recruits during the passing out parade at the National Police College Main Campus in Kiganjo, Nyeri County, in January.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Police are unhappy with a new medical insurance cover they say has limited benefits and restricts the health facilities they can go to.

The discontent with the medical scheme offered by CIC Insurance that took effect in January is mostly among junior officers.

Members of the National Police Service (NPS) used to be covered under the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

Police officers who spoke to Nation in confidence said the outpatient cover was not adequate.

One junior officer based in Nairobi lamented that it had become difficult for him to get quality medical services at any private hospital in the country.

During the changeover from NHIF to CIC Insurance in January, National Police Service Commission chairperson Eliud Kinuthia asked officers to be patient since the transition would take a while.

“The process of registration for police officers digitally is ongoing [and] … there could be ... delays in the system but we ask the police officers to be patient,” Mr Kinuthia said, adding that the shift had occasioned delays in accessing some of the hospitals listed under CIC Insurance.

Under the new scheme, medical insurance is provided by CIC with Britam Insurance providing group personal accident cover and work injury benefits for officers hurt in the line of duty.

Police commanders in various stations across the country were urged to ensure that all officers are registered to enable access to the new system.

Kenya Prisons Service

The new medical insurer was enlisted after the NPS and the Kenya Prisons Service ended the NHIF comprehensive medical cover over cost concerns.

NHIF had bid for the renewal of the contract at an annual cost of Sh9.3 billion.

Police and prisons officers eventually settled on a consortium of health providers led by CIC General Limited Insurance, which was awarded the tender at a cost of Sh8.6 billion.

CIC Insurance did not respond to queries by Nation regarding the complaints by police officers.

Nation had asked if the consortium was aware of the concerns raised by police officers and, if so, what steps had been taken to address the challenges.

Nation was informed that the questions would be handled by the CIC general manager for Marketing and Customer Experience, Mr Joseph Kamiri, but no response had been given by the time of going to press.

The National Police Service Commission said it had received feedback from police officers and that the commission’s chairperson would respond to the issues. There was no response from the commission by the time of going to press. For her part, Police Spokesperson Resila Onyango said they had received complaints at the beginning of the year and measures were taken to rectify the situation.

"At the moment, each service has a representative where complaints can be [channeled to] for timely response," explained Dr Onyango.

It also emerged some police officers are unaware of the details of the scheme, with at least five other police officers interviewed by Nation unable to tell their limits for different services including outpatient, inpatient or maternity services. Dr Onyango, however, said plans were under way to inform officers on what they are entitled to.

Health welfare

“A signal was sent to all officers on where to get what service and how, as well as phone numbers to call for the details,” she said.

In its presentation to a task force looking into the welfare of police and prisons officers and chaired by former Chief Justice David Maraga, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) recommended improved health welfare for police.

“Ensure the police medical insurance scheme covers mental health and rehabilitation [and] establish a welfare/benevolent fund managed by NPS,” part of the recommendations read.

NPS and Ipoa did not respond to inquiries about the specific details of the scheme.