The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has developed regulations that will allow men to get medical cover for multiple wives subject to approval by Parliament.
According, to the new regulations, the male member will pay an extra Sh500 to provide medical coverage to the additional wives.
This is a departure from the current NHIF rules that cover one spouse and a maximum of five children.
Currently, members with two wives are often forced to have another cover for the second wife who is listed as the principal member.
Most private insurance firms recognize the principal member, one registered spouse and up to four children for medical cover, especially those backed by employers.
The NHIF’s move to recognize multiple wives comes more than eight years after former President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law a marriage Bill legalizing polygamy.
The marriage bill brought civil law, where a man was only allowed one wife, into line with customary law, allowing men to have more wives without consulting existing spouses.
“Where a standard contributor includes more than one spouse as a beneficiary, the contributor shall remit an additional contribution to the Fund,” says a new clause in the republished regulations.
“The rate of the additional contribution referred to in the sub-regulation shall be five hundred shillings in respect of each spouse.”
NHIF is also seeking community input on the new regulations ahead of parliamentary approval for the new rates and the clause backing members with multiple wives.
The new premium is a shift from the present model where employees earning over Sh100,000 pay a fixed monthly contribution of Sh1,700 to the NHIF.
The renewed law pushes contributions of workers earning Sh200,000 double to Sh3,400 if the regulations are adopted while the burden on those on Sh500,000 will increase five times to Sh8,500 monthly.