Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has ruled out NHIF covering Covid-19 patients.
Speaking on Wednesday, Kagwe stated that poor Kenyans enrolled under the cover will have to cater to the treatment from their own pockets.
Alongside NHIF CEO Peter Kamunyo, the CS noted that treating Covid-19 is expensive and unsustainable for both NHIF and private insurance firms.
"It is not practical for NHIF and private insurance companies to cover pandemics," Kagwe said.
He made the remarks when he appeared before the Senate Health Committee to respond to concerns NHIF and private insurance firms have declined to cover Covid 19 related claims.
However, Kagwe pointed out that the government manages the situation through subsidized and write off treatment costs for poor Kenyans unable to pay their bills.
"It would not have been financially viable for NHIF to finance the treatment of Covid-19 for the current National/Enhanced Medical Scheme members of the Fund, or a National Covid-19 response modelled under UHC, without external financing specific to the reimbursement of the pandemic related expenses, and at specific hospitals," Kagwe said.
Last week during the extraordinary summit on Covid-19 between president Uhuru Kenyatta and governors, CoG chair Wycliffe Oparanya blasted private insurers for failing to cover patients infected with the virus.
According to Oparanya, the government should compel private insurers to cover the treatment.
"It is unacceptable, heartless and unethical that the private insurance companies who have been paid colossal amounts of money now deny desperate Kenyans access to medical care demanding more monies from the already overburdened population," Oparanya said.
In June, the Association of Kenya Insurers claimed to have paid more than Sh120 million in Covid-19-related claims, and some firms paid-up shares of Sh10 million per person for Covid-19 treatment.