The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is a State Parastatal that was established in 1966 as a department under the Ministry of Health. Currently, the NHIF Act No. 9 of 1998 governs the Fund.


The Fund’s core mandate is to provide medical insurance cover to all its members and their declared dependants (spouse, child and other named dependants).


NHIF membership is mandatory for everyone who is (i) ordinarily resident in Kenya (ii) is over 18 years old and (iii) has a monthly income of more than Kshs. 1,000/= whether derived from employment or self-employment.

severance payRates of the contribution

These are set out in the National Hospital Insurance Fund (Standard & Special Contributions) Regulations, 2003. The rates are graduated as follows: –

Gross Income (Kshs.) Proposed Premiums (Kshs.)
5,999 150
6,000 -7,999 300
8,000-11,999 400
12,000-14,999 500
15,000-19,999 600
20,000-24,999 750
25,000-29,999 850
30,000-34,999 900
35,000-39,999 950
40,000-44,999 1,000
45,000-49,999 1,100
50,000-59,999 1,200
60,000-69,000 1,300
70,000-79,999 1,400
80,000-89,000 1,500
90,000-99,000 1,600
100,000—and over 1,700

Self-employed (Special)


Once a person becomes a member of the fund, he is required to make monthly contributions to the fund in order to enjoy the services offered.

For those who are employed, their employers are responsible for deducting and remitting the payments monthly to the Fund (Section 16(3) of the Act).

The payments should be made by the 9th of the month failing which a late payment penalty of 25% of the amount of that contribution, for micro and small enterprises, or two times the amount of that contribution, for all other cases, is payable.

If an employer fails to make payment on time, the penalty accrues to them and not the employee.

Criminal-Lawyer-Brownsville-TXFor those who are self-employed, the penalty is five times the amount of the contribution. Failing to pay is also a criminal offence for which one is liable, on conviction, to a fine equal to four times the amount of that contribution.

There is also the option of voluntary membership by which a person may apply to be a voluntary contributor so as to cover such other dependants who would otherwise not be entitled to the benefits under the standard or special contributions paid by the contributor. Limited details are available about this option.

The relationship between NHIF and the Employment Act

Section 34 of the Employment Act, 2007 places an obligation on an employer to ensure ‘the provision of sufficient and proper medicine for his employees during illness and if possible, medical attendance during serious illness’.

This obligation is fulfilled if the employee is able to secure medical treatment through the employee’s NHIF membership.

If, as a result of a late or delayed payment by an employer, an employee is unable to claim or obtain the NHIF benefits, the employer shall be liable to the employee to the extent of the denied benefit and any other injury or inconvenience arising therefrom.

NHIF_LOGO5Benefits of NHIF

One must be a fully paid-up member to enjoy the NHIF benefits. The benefits are enjoyed at NHIF accredited hospitals.

The services currently offered by NHIF include;

  • Inpatient services – NHIF has contracted hospitals under three Categories; A, B & C, to provide inpatient medical cover and partial cover for surgical cases. According to the NHIF website, under Category A (government hospitals), members would be able to enjoy full and comprehensive cover for maternity and medical diseases including surgery. Members admitted under contract Category B (private and mission) hospitals will enjoy full and comprehensive cover but where surgery is required, the contributor may be required to co-pay. Those visiting facilities contracted under Category C (private) will continue with the current system where NHIF pays specified daily benefits under the current arrangements.
  • Outpatient services – Limited to expenses incurred in respect of drugs, laboratory tests and diagnostic services, surgical, dental or medical procedures or equipment; physiotherapy care and doctors’ fees, food and boarding costs, subject to such limits as may be prescribed.
  • Civil servant scheme – Available to civil servants. The benefits include inpatient cover, outpatient cover, maternity cover and reproductive health, exgratia payment, Group life cover and last expense cover.
  • Pregnant-200x243Linda Mama services – Provides free maternity services – antenatal and postnatal – at accredited public and private hospitals and faith-based hospitals. All pregnant women who are Kenyan citizens are eligible to join.
  • EduAfya Service – Is a comprehensive medical insurance cover for public secondary schools students.
  • Supa cover services – Is said to be an advanced cover with the following benefits: –
  1. Outpatient services – Consultation, Laboratory, investigations, daycare procedures, drugs and dispensation, health education, wellness and counselling, physiotherapy services, immunization/vaccines as per the KEPI schedule;
  2. Inpatient services;
  3. Maternal care – Antenatal and Prenatal care and deliveries (Normal delivery and caesarian section);
  4. Reproductive health services including family planning;
  5. Renal Dialysis;
  6. Overseas treatment for specialized surgeries not available locally;
  7. Rehabilitation for drugs and substance abuse;
  8. All surgical procedures including transplants;
  9. Emergency road evacuation services;
  10. Radiology imaging services (X-rays, CT Scan, & MRI);
  11. Cancer Treatment.

The supa cover looks quite impressive. A CT scan, for example, costs up to Kshs. 30,000/= in some private hospitals, I note that it is one of the benefits of the supa cover. I wonder whether the supa cover implementation has been successful.

See the NHIF website for more information and for a list of the accredited hospitals.


NHIF is a mandatory deduction. From the look of things and a bit of personal experience, it is quite beneficial.

***THE END***

About Anne Babu

Anne is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and the Founding Partner of Anne Babu & Co. She has practised employment law for over 12 years and her employment law practice has been recognized by the prestigious Chambers & Partners. Anne cares about employers and their labour issues.


The information on this website is for general guidance on your rights and responsibilities and is not legal advice. If you need more details on your rights or legal advice about what action to take, please contact a lawyer.

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  1. William Aol says:

    Thanks Anne. This is Quite informative.
    Please rectify this:
    The services currently offered by NHIF not NSSF include under Benefits of NHIF

    Thank you

    1. Anne Babu says:

      Done. Thanks.

  2. Nikita M says:

    Thank you Anne,

    Well articulated article, always informative.

    Answering your question, you are wondering if the Supa cover has been implemented.

    I am not exactly sure on what type of cover but my employees are able to get these services like CT scans, MRI without the employer paying an extra dime. We are 610 employees and thus medical costs have been a huge burden on the company. Overall, I would say that the revised NHIF benefits and especially in public hospital. As a business case, I can say it has significantly reduced our annual medical costs by 50%.

    1. Anne Babu says:

      Wow! I’m definitely going to look into the supa cover in greater detail.

  3. ali says:

    Good work Ann
    I would like to inform you NHIF has revised the penalty for self- employed to half the amount of late contribution.
    Also i would like to get a clarification, on where it stated in the law that failure to pay is criminal offence for which one is liable, on conviction, to a fine equal to four times the amount of that contribution.


    1. Anne Babu says:

      Hi Ali, this is the provision on penalties taken from the NHIF Act: –

      Penalty for late payment of standard contributions
      Subject to the provisions of this section and without prejudice to any other penalty imposed under this Act, if any contribution which any person is liable to pay under this Act in respect of any month, is not paid on or before the day on which payment is due, a penalty equal to —

      in the case of micro and small enterprises, twenty-five percent of the amount of that contribution; and

      in any other case, two times the amount of that contribution,

      shall be payable by that person for each month or part thereof during which the contribution remains unpaid, and any such penalty shall be recoverable as a sum due to the Fund, and when recovered, shall be paid into the Fund.

      If an employer fails to pay a standard contribution in respect of any person employed by him—

      that employer shall be liable to pay the penalty prescribed in subsection (1);

      that employee shall not be liable to any penalty under this section for so long as he is employed by that employer.

      Where a contributor is outside Kenya on the day when a standard contribution becomes payable by him, that contribution shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to become payable on the day of his return to Kenya.

      In this section, the expressions “micro enterprise” and “small enterprise” have the meanings assigned thereto respectively in the Micro and Small Enterprises Act, 2012.

      [Act No. 18 of 2014, Sch.]


      Special contributions
      Every person liable to pay a special contribution under this Act shall pay the contribution to the Board on the first day of each month or on such later date as the Board may specify, in such manner and at such rate as may be prescribed.

      If a special contribution which any person is liable to pay under this section is not paid on or before the day on which the payment is due, a penalty equal to five times the amount of the contribution shall be payable by that person for each month or part thereof during which the contribution remains unpaid, and any such penalty shall be recoverable as a sum due to the Fund and when recovered shall be paid into the Fund.

      Any contributor who, without lawful excuse, fails to pay, within the time and in the manner prescribed by this Act, any special contribution which he is liable to pay, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine equal to four times the amount of that contribution but the imposition of any such fine shall not affect the liability of such person to pay the penalty prescribed by subsection (2).

  4. margaret nyambura says:


  5. Bill says:

    Such an informative piece and I’ve just come across it right on time coz I have a question concerning this NHIF. Can one deactivate or suspend his/her membership till sometime when he/she is financially stable to pay its monthly bills?

    1. Anne Babu says:

      Thanks. The payment is due and expected as long as the monthly salary meets the thresholds.

  6. ANDREW BUNDI says:

    I never thought I Will get myself in this site until I was affected.. So my employer didn’t remit the amount due to the NHIF fund.

    1. Anne Babu says:

      You should report to NHIF for them to take action. If none is taken, see a labour officer or lawyer to issue a demand.

  7. Joe says:

    Thanks Anne for that schooling. Question is whether a self employed qualifies for Supa cover and all its benefits.?

    1. Anne Babu says:

      You would need to confirm from NHIF.

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