Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Being a member of NHIF... BEWARE!!!

I have just spent most of the morning and a part of my lunchtime trying to untangle the things that NHIF DOES NOT tell its subscribers!!!

It does NOT tell us that all those NHIF accredited places are NOT for ALL subscribers of NHIF. They tell all Kenyans to subscribe to them even with as little as they can afford e.g. 500/- per month which will cover their out-patients bills, too.

Ah, but there's a catch as I found out today - that not all facilities that advertise at their entrances that they are NHIF accredited are really so. Only SOME of them will agree to see you despite you paying their monthly subscription. The reason you'll be told is that ONLY civil servants and the police are going to be seen there. Not the rest of us common Kenyans!

In case, you have downloaded their 'application', there's no end to the frustration you'll encounter to get information, though it claims that it is there for our convenience. Believe me, it is anything but that.

This 'app' only tells you that you're paid up or not, but not how long you are paid up, for, i.e. there's no way to find out up to what month you have paid. You send them a message from the same app and you'll NEVER get a reply!

Next, since they tell you that you are also covered for out-patient services, you have to choose from a long line of clinics and hospitals that are the most convenient for you. Well, there's a catch there. 

At no place does NHIF inform you that you can register yourself only at certain clinics and hospitals - not all of those that are listed there. Unfortunately, since they don't and I did not know that Premier Hospital in Nyali was not the one for me because it did not tell me so when I was registering there from their app, I went there today when I was in a lot of pain.

Soon after I presented my ID and NHIF card to them, I was told very politely by one of the girls working there that they only entertained and treated civil servants and cops NOT a commoner like me!

So now, I had to find another place that would accept my card, but since their app does not tell us which those are, I, and they (the two girls at Premier Hospital who were helping me out), were at a loss. They even tried calling NHIF and told them about my predicament, but didn't get any proper answer. In fact, they told the girls that I should go to their town offices to get sorted out!

Do these unfeeling people have any sense? How is somebody who is a senior citizen and not mobile, supposed to do all that? And also when I was in pain?

Therefore, I then chose to go to another clinic, where I used to go, and they had my record and which, the NHIF app told us accepted my card. I had no way of knowing if they really would.

Well, when I got there, they confirmed that they now accepted my type of NHIF card though previously they hadn't and I could now register with them. It was a relief, but again there was a catch. When the receptionist tried to register me there, it took her quite a while, but she managed it and I also got a confirmation that I was now registered there. Only problem was that I would ONLY BE ABLE TO USE MY CARD FROM 1ST JAN 2021!!!! 

Now, through no fault of mine I had to go through this run-around and that it is the fault of NHIF that I had registered myself at the 'wrong' place. So my question to this questionable outfit is - why don't they specify at their accredited facilities  that they list on their app as to which are available to the general Kenyan public and which are for the 'special people', only?! 

I would appreciate an answer as soon as possible.

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