In a recent turn of events, Minet Insurance Brokers, the underwriter responsible for managing the substantial Sh53 billion teachers’ medical cover, has been summoned by Members of Parliament to address concerns about the quality of medical services provided. The summoned figurehead, Managing Director Sammy Muthui, is slated to appear before the Departmental Committee on Education to shed light on the alleged poor-quality services and questionable practices associated with Bliss Healthcare Services, a prominent player in the insurance arrangement for teachers’ medical coverage.
At the heart of the matter are complaints from teachers regarding the medical insurance cover offered through Minet Insurance Brokers Kenya Limited. The Committee seeks clarification on the terms and conditions of the contract between Minet and the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC).
One pressing issue is the role of Bliss Healthcare Services in the medical coverage for teachers. Muthui is expected to provide a comprehensive explanation of why teachers are directed to Bliss Healthcare Services providers before being referred to established hospitals. Additionally, MPs are keen on understanding why teachers are required to pay an extra fee of Sh100 by Bliss Healthcare Services.
The letter from the Clerk of the National Assembly, Jeremiah Ndombi, outlines the committee’s concern about delayed approvals for advanced treatment and the process of obtaining medical attention in hospitals other than those initially designated. The MPs are also curious about the apparent dominance of companies associated with Bliss in the medical insurance sector and public service-related tenders.
The impending meeting follows the closure of the tendering process for the Sh8.7 billion medical cover for the National Police Service and the Kenya Prisons Service. MPs aim to scrutinize the quality of medical services provided by Bliss, which has been overseeing the teachers’ medical cover since 2013.
Of particular interest is the allocation of funds within the Sh53 billion signed between Minet and TSC. A substantial portion, Sh51.4 billion, was earmarked for the master capitator, Bliss Healthcare Services. This allocation includes funds for outpatient services, in-patient care, maternity, dental services, optical care, and evacuation services.
The controversy surrounding the award of the medical scheme tender to Minet on December 1, 2022, is not new. TSC CEO Nancy Macharia defended the tendering process, asserting its tamperproof nature and receiving clearance from the Attorney General, Justin Muturi. Despite legal challenges questioning the fairness of the tender, Minet was awarded the contract to provide comprehensive medical insurance cover for over 341,837 public school teachers over a three-year period.
As the parliamentary inquiry unfolds on Monday, all eyes are on Sammy Muthui to address the concerns raised by teachers and provide insights into the intricacies of the medical insurance cover that plays a pivotal role in the well-being of Kenya’s educators.