Kenya's anti-corruption agency reveals how hospitals charge patients with insurance cards up to 50 times more than those paying in cash

An insurance card holder can also pay as much as Sh35,000 for removal of a nasal pack yet the same services typically cost a cash paying patient Sh700.

  • According to a recently released report by the EACC, it was found out there is widespread variation in what different hospitals charge for the same medical procedures.
  • As a result, patients using insurance cards are charged up to 50 times more than those paying in cash for the same procedure at the same hospital.
  • An insurance card holder can pay as much as Sh35,000 ($350) for removal of a nasal pack yet the same services typically cost a cash paying patient Sh700 ($7).

According to a recently released report by the EACC it was found out there is widespread variation in what different hospitals charge for the same medical procedures.

And as a result, patients using insurance cards are charged up to 50 times more than those paying in cash for the same procedure at the same hospital.

“This is not fair and we pay the hospitals within two weeks to a month so they cannot say that they charge exorbitant prices because they offer services on credit,” a top official at the National Hospital Insurance Fund told a local business daily.

Cardholders seeking even the most of basic medical procedures which usually cost a few hundreds is normally quadrupled tens of times the normal price.

A surgery to remove the urinary bladder for instance which can cost Sh7,500 for cash paying patients shoots up to Sh90,000 for National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and other insurances.

In Nyeri County for example, a facility offers free services for children below five years while another charges children who were covered by NHIF, the report revealed.

EACC Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo said that the Ministry of Health needs to come up with a plan within the next month on how they will develop and operationalise guidelines for fees to be charged on various categories of patients.

The end result of this high end ‘white collar crime’ carried out by the very people tasked with ensuring the society not only thrives economically but also health wise, is but disastrous to the whole country’s economy since the private sector and investors are put off from rolling out insurance programmes covering  poor people who are majority of the population due to high and expensive claims, effectively condemning the industry on a self-induced coma.

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