As published by allafrica.com on November 5th 2020
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has defended the medical scheme of its employees, saying it is the best of its kind in the region, terming allegations that they are being humiliated by service providers baseless.
TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia said claims of teachers being humiliated when seeking services are untrue. She added that AON Minet Insurance does not have a daily limit on outpatient services.
“The only capping for the outpatient component is the member’s annual allocation,” Mrs Macharia told the Senate Committee on Education chaired by Dr Alice Milgo yesterday.
She said an analysis of the benefits shows that the teacher’s medical scheme is better than what is enjoyed by most public workers in Kenya and the region.
Mrs Macharia said the scheme covers a wide range of services and that the annual allocations for evry component are enough to cover the principal member and five dependants. “It is one of the most comprehensive medical schemes,” she said. The commission boss added that the scheme provides accessible health services to teachers in the 47 counties.
She was responding to a statement sought by Senator Rose Nyamunga who said teachers are being humiliated under AON Minet Insurance Scheme. Ms Nyamunga said teachers are complaining that the money for outpatient services is capped at Sh900, inclusive of doctor consultation, tests and medicine.
The lawmaker added that teachers are being restricted on where to seek treatment. She said some of the hospitals taking the teachers are poorly equipped and lack qualified staff. “There are delays in approval, which can sometimes take up to a month,” Ms Nyamunga said. Other challenges the teachers and their dependants face, she said, include limited access due to rigid operating hours at some hospitals and limited dental services. AON Minet only carters for tooth extraction. Senator Nyamunga said teachers face huge problems lodging claims with the insurance firm.
TSC, however, said the scheme has more than 500 providers offering a wide range of services, including inpatient, outpatient, dental, optical, maternity, medical emergency evacuation and specialised referrals locally and internationally, group excess of loss cover, group life and last expense cover.
The medical scheme covers more than 1,036,000 lives, with 332,000 registered teachers and their dependants accessing any hospital on the list of service, the commission said.
“Based on the feedback at consultative forums on the administration of the scheme and monthly meetings, additional 32 medical service providers ranging from private facilities, faith-based institutions as well as some country referral hospitals were added to the list of medical providers,” Mrs Macharia said.
She added that TSC has ensured hospitals are accredited by National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). The TSC chief said the claim that some hospitals on the list lack qualified personnel “is not entirely true”. “To address such a sensitive issue, the commission requires specific details,” she said.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) have asked the government to increase funds and help improve the medical cover.
Kuppet Secretary-General Akelo Misori urged teachers facing problems while using the medical scheme not shy away from informing the union TSC. “It is important to know the hospitals lacking facilities and qualified workers. That will help us raise the matter with the service providers,” Mr Misori said.
Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said teachers contribute to NHIF besides the medical scheme. “To be fair to service providers, we request to be given specifics so that our representatives can follow up and provide feedback,” he said.
Mr Sossion said some hospitals could be offering poor services to sabotage the scheme.