Nairobi City County workers are a happy lot after the county government restored their medical cover.
The cover, offered by AAR, was suspended on March 9 with the insurer citing arrears amounting to Sh530 million.
City Hall last Friday has paid Sh270.1 million to AAR Insurance Kenya and asked that its workers scheme be restored.
In a letter dated April 9, finance executive Allan Igambi said the unexpected delay in the settlement of the premium was occasioned by the late passage of the budget for the 2020-21 financial year.
Igambi pledged to clear the outstanding arrears by April 23.
“In the view of the above, we plead with you to reinstate the county medical scheme to enable our desperate and suffering members and their dependents access uninterrupted healthcare services,” the CEC said.
The county government workers had threatened to go on strike to protest the lack of medical cover.
Through the Kenya County Government Workers Union, they accused City Hall of failing to pay their insurer thus leading to the suspension of the scheme.
Some county workers were turned away from some of the accredited health facilities when they sought medical services.
Others had to pay cash.
The union’s Nairobi branch secretary Festus Ngari said they lost at least 2o members between March 16 and April 8 with five of them dying on April 3.
Nairobi Deputy Governor Ann Kananu on Thursday said her administration was working with the Controller of Budget to resolve the stalemate.
“The payment has been delayed by government processes but I am sure the money will be out today (Thursday) and we will clear the payment by end of business today,” Kananu said.
Ngari had also claimed that workers were being turned away from facilities accredited to the National Hospital Insurance Fund despite deductions being made by City Hall.
“NHIF should give us service commensurate to value for our money. There can be no taxation without representation,” Ngari said.
However, the unionist has acknowledged the payment made by City Hall to AAR and communicated to members about the reinstatement of the medical cover.
“Kindly note that the county medical insurance cover has officially been reinstated effective this afternoon. You and your dependants can now access uninterrupted healthcare services,” Ngari told members via a Whatsapp group.
The insurer had on February 12 written to City Hall reminding the county government to settle the premium balance of Sh530 million.
On March 9 having received no response, AAR managing director Nixon Shigoli said they won’t continue offering uninterrupted services to the staff and their families.
“This letter serves to inform you that we will be forced to suspend credit facilities for the scheme effective March 19, 2021, should we not have received the outstanding premium payment by then,” Shigoli said in the letter.
The company said the claims incurred during the scheme suspension period will be settled directly with the members of staff after a full premium payment is received and subject to the usual policy terms.