How NHIF Online Is Making Healthcare More Accessible in Kenya

March 19th, 2023 by Felix Cheruiyot

Easy access to healthcare is crucial for the well-being of individuals and communities alike. With easier access, people are more likely to seek preventive care and early treatments for illnesses, thus reducing the chances of complications or worsening conditions later on. Additionally, having healthcare services within reach contributes to reduced need for emergency care, lowers healthcare costs, and helps in better management of chronic diseases. Overall, the benefits of easy access to healthcare cannot be overstated, as it plays a vital role in improving the quality of life for all members of society, which is where NHIF online comes in.

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has recently launched an online platform in Kenya, revolutionizing access to healthcare services for the country's citizens. This innovative move is aimed at enhancing efficiency, reducing wait times, and providing a seamless experience for Kenyans seeking medical coverage. Through this platform, users can easily register, check their contribution status, and access information about accredited healthcare facilities, ensuring that they receive quality medical care in a timely manner. As a result, the NHIF online platform promises to significantly improve healthcare access and delivery for the Kenyan population, contributing to better overall health outcomes and quality of life in realization of Universal Health Care (UHC).

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) in Kenya has made significant strides in digitizing its services, especially through the launch of its online platform and the integration of M-Pesa for payment processing. This has allowed members to access various services, such as registration, premium payments, and claim submissions, through a seamless and user-friendly interface. The digital transformation has not only enhanced the efficiency of the NHIF but also improved the overall experience for beneficiaries, as they can now enjoy more convenience and reduced processing times. Furthermore, the online platform has also played a crucial role in enhancing transparency and accountability, leading to better service delivery and increased trust in the organization.

The Health Situation in Kenya

A large number of Kenyan citizens do not have access to standard and state-of-the-art health care due largely to its high cost. Despite the fact that access to healthcare is inherently the right of Kenyan citizens, as guaranteed by the Kenyan constitution, a lot of Kenyan citizens still find it alarmingly difficult to exercise their rights by demanding the best healthcare, obtainable under the umbrella of Kenyan laws.

However, the government of Kenya is fully aware of the fact that ignoring health problems, for whatever reasons can lead to needless suffering economically, socially, and physically. They fully understand also that the net effect of the neglect of the health sector would ultimately bring devastating complications to the citizen’s well-being, consequently lowering the quality of life.

In order to create broadway access to healthcare in Kenya, the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) was established as a primary provider of health insurance. The core mandate of the NHIF is to enable all Kenyans, access to quality and affordable health services, regardless of their social and financial status.

The NHIF and its Role in Kenya’s Healthcare System

There are several insurance schemes across the shores of Africa operating in Kenya but the Kenya National Hospital Insurance Fund holds a sterling record as the oldest government insurance scheme on the continent. The NHIF as fondly referred to by Kenyans is charged with the sole responsibility of providing quality and affordable health for all Kenyans. As a matter of fact, NHIF membership is compulsory for all salaried employees in the country. Consequently, close to 100,000 NHIF members utilize the services of M-Pesa for the payment of their monthly health insurance premiums. NHIF premiums are automatically deducted from employees’ wages in a 'pay as you earn' scheme - Premium contributions are calculated on a graduated scale based on income and deducted automatically through payroll. NHIF funds have been used to capitate the UHC in government hospitals hence enabling the facilities to acquire capital to provide services including procurement of drugs and other commodities.

Self-employed and other informal sector workers are not excluded from enjoying the benefits of the NHIF, they can also apply for a voluntary or a contributory membership at a fixed premium rate of 160 Kenya shillings per month.

An Overview of Kenya's Health Sector

The COVID'19 pandemic was an utterly devastating health crisis for many countries around the world when it struck a few years ago. The pandemic brought about a serious dip in economic growth for many African countries, it caused an astronomical rise in mortality rate and shook some countries in the western world to their foundations. The COVID'19 pandemic did a lot to reveal the defects in our health sector. In the early days of its discovery in Africa, the concern of most health workers was that African countries would quickly become overwhelmed by the surge of the pandemic - these projections were factual!

These negative projections became gradually sustainable when the defects of the health sector in Kenya began to manifest. One of the major deficiencies of Kenya's healthcare system, as revealed by the pandemic is the dearth of health workers and specialists -It soon became glaring that there was a major mismatch between available care and healthcare needs. For instance, a nationwide study found major shortages in chest specialists, hospital physicians, and emergency care nurses. An assessment of health facilities in 2021 also reported that just 12% had the standard items needed to prevent infections, such as gloves, infectious waste storage, and disinfectant. Of the hospitals that offer emergency breathing intervention services, 78% offered the administration of oxygen and 23% had invasive mechanical ventilation.

It also became clear that the supply of healthcare services is far from inclusive as some rural regions in the country experienced little or no access to healthcare. Geographically, there’s a huge divide between what’s available in rural areas and urban areas. Most Kenyans, about 70% of the population, live in rural areas. They mostly rely on community health volunteers and health facilities that are staffed by nurses who provide primary health care services like immunization. Sub-county hospitals provide more services and a few medical doctors are available. Contributing largely to the dearth of supply of healthcare services to most rural dwellers is their poor financial state- sometimes, if they can access healthcare, they risk huge bills which can push them into poverty.

Soon enough, the government discovered that investing in the health workforce is pertinent in fostering economic growth and job creation as well as in achieving the SDGs. Gradually, Kenya’s healthcare policy thrust was targeted at improving the quality of life of the population by investing to improve health service provision to achieve universal health coverage. To achieve this, the NHIF online was invented to improve the accessibility, affordability, and sustainability of health insurance for all Kenyan citizens.

Benefits of NHIF Online

Convenient and accessible healthcare services for NHIF beneficiaries

The launch of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) online platform in Kenya has revolutionized the accessibility and efficiency of healthcare services in the country. By digitizing the enrollment, claims, and reimbursement processes, the platform has significantly reduced the bureaucratic hurdles that had long plagued the healthcare sector- long waits and queues at health facilities are now gradually becoming a thing of the past. NHIF is available in both private and public sectors and reimburse capitation in real time. As more Kenyans are now able to access vital healthcare services with ease and convenience, the adoption of the online NHIF platform signals a positive step towards achieving universal health coverage in the nation. Furthermore, the digital transformation has the potential to inspire similar innovations in other African countries, ultimately advancing the overall quality of and access to healthcare services across the continent.

Health concerns have no regard for timing- the need for health services and the attention of healthcare providers may arise in the deep dusk or at dawn. Hence, the need for an innovation that can be utilized at any moment. The availability of NHIF online facilitates access to healthcare 24/7, and this access can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home, wherever the location.

Increased transparency and accountability in the discharge of healthcare services

The launch of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) online platform in Kenya marked a significant milestone in the healthcare sector, as it brought about increased transparency and accountability. The new system has made it easier for members to access information about their coverage, benefits, and claims, as well as for healthcare providers to submit claims and monitor payments right from their smartphone. Furthermore, the digitization of the NHIF has facilitated better tracking of healthcare expenditures and allocation of resources, leading to overall improvements in the provision of healthcare services in the country. This progress demonstrates the crucial role that technology can play in enhancing transparency and accountability within the healthcare sector, ultimately improving the lives of Kenyan citizens.

Moreso, since claims and reimbursements can now be processed online, every insured/ subscriber now has a database that contains their health information, health service access history, and their various interactions with NHIF healthcare service providers, thereby enabling real-time tracking of healthcare transactions and improving the quality of healthcare delivery. The NHIF online has also facilitated access to healthcare service quality reports and feedback from the public to the service providers.

Reduction of fraud and corruption in the healthcare system

The orthodox means of documentation and subscription to health services, using paperwork has so far constituted a leeway or invitation to fraud and other corrupt practices.

Corruption in the health sector manifests dangerously in many ways throughout the system. A significant concern is elements in the ministry of health that are accused of colluding to fraudulently convert public funds. Such theft weakens health institutions and diverts valuable time and attention to its mitigation. In addition, some officials from the main supplier of medical goods – Kenya Medical Supplies Agency – are under investigation for awarding protective equipment tenders irregularly. Ultimately, the major challenge is that this is a healthcare system where most people are able to access basic care but they face the barrier of potentially catastrophic fees.

This incessant manifestation of corrupt practices in the sector has led to a desperate need for change and reforms in the industry, especially in matters of corruption. One such initiative is the implementation of NHIF online services, aimed at combating graft and promoting transparency in the Kenyan health sector. By digitizing crucial processes, the system can better track and monitor transactions, which helps to identify and address irregularities and fraudulent activities. Furthermore, this digital platform can empower citizens by providing them with more information on healthcare services available and the costs associated, thus fostering a more accountable and transparent healthcare system. For instance, platform has enabled the insured to key in an OTP and thumb print sign for approval of payment of services for both outpatient and inpatient services. Hence limiting abuse of individuals and health facilities.

NHIF Support Programs

There are various schemes that the government has rolled out through NHIF with aim to reach out to the unreached and incoperate every citizen. These programs have become successful in some counties.


This medical scheme covers all students from Form One to Form Four who are in public institutions

Linda Mama

A medical scheme for all Pregnant and Breastfeeding women upto six months. This aim to offer services for free to both the mother and the baby.

Universal Health Coverage

The government has developed a medical scheme model though funding by NHIF platform to offer free medical services to all public hospitals in aim to provide ease access to Primary Health Care. This has been successful in mitigating both communicable and non communicable diseases.

How to Register for NHIF Online

Who is eligible to register on NHIF online?

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is a social health insurance provider in several countries, aimed at providing affordable and quality healthcare services to registered members. Anyone above 18 years of age can become a principal member. Recently NHIF through UHC developed a product that serves the adolescents attending Secondary School in Kenya in a scheme dubbed Edu Afya that covers all Secondary school students attending public schools from form one to form four. Some of the other eligible members that can register for NHIF online include locals, expatriates, students, volunteers, self-employed individuals, and formal sector employees. The primary requirement for registration is that an individual must be above 18 years of age and provide necessary identification documents such as national identification cards, resident permits, or employment cards. Through the online portal, eligible members can conveniently access and manage their accounts, update their details, and track their overall health coverage with ease.

Step-by-step guide for registration

Registering for NHIF provides you and your family access to a wealth of medical services at a relatively low cost, ensuring you peace of mind when it comes to healthcare matters. To register for the NHIF online, follow these simple steps to make the registration process seamless and hassle-free.

Step 1: First, visit the official NHIF website and click on the "Self-service Portal" option.

Step 2: Choose the "Individual Registration" option, which will lead you to the registration form.

Step 3: Fill out the required details, including personal information, contact details, and employment information, ensuring all fields are completed accurately.

Step 4: Once you have filled out all the necessary fields, you can proceed to upload the required documents such as your National ID, a passport-sized photograph, and any additional documents that may be required based on your specific situation, like an employment contract or marriage certificate.

Step 5: Finally, verify all the information prior to submitting the application for processing.

Step 6: Upon successful registration, you will receive a confirmation SMS, along with your NHIF membership card that can be printed or saved for future use.

Paying for NHIF through M-Pesa paybill

Below are steps on how to pay for NHIF contribution via Mpesa paybill.

Step 1: Choose the Pay Bill option

Step 2: Enter the NHIF Business no.200222

Step 3: Enter the contributor’s national ID number as the account number.

Step 4: Enter the amount

Step 5: Enter your M-PESA pin and confirm the details.

Step 6: A confirmation message will be sent to your phone.

Using NHIF Online

Tips for making the most of NHIF online services

One of the most empowering features of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is its online services. Making the most of NHIF online services requires a few simple steps that will maximize the ease and convenience these platforms offer. First, ensure that you have registered and logged in to the NHIF member portal, where you can access information on your account, as well as various services and benefits. Secondly, stay updated on the range of services available, including remote consulting, payments, and fund management. Dedicated NHIF mobile applications enable members to quickly locate healthcare providers within their plan, access digital copies of fund statements, and track claims' status in real time. Once registered, you can download the mobile application and use to edit hospital of preferance, update payments and monitor usage.

Challenges faced by NHIF online

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) in Kenya has introduced an online platform to enhance accessibility and efficiency in its services. Despite the progress, there are several challenges facing the implementation and utilization of NHIF online services. These challenges range from poor internet connectivity in remote areas, inadequate digital literacy among the population, cyber security threats, and resistance to change among the older generation. In addition, coordination among key stakeholders in the healthcare sector remains a challenge, adversely affecting the seamless operation of the system.

Another challenge encountered by the NHIF online platform in its early stages is the integration of the M-Pesa payment platform- although the problem has been solved significantly. While this problem lingered, beneficiaries would often arrive at health facilities to discover that they could not access the health services that they had procured online because contributions were not being reflected in membership accounts in a timely manner.

Way Forward

To address the concerns raised in the preceding section, it is essential to invest in enhanced internet infrastructure, develop user-friendly online platforms, and conduct targeted digital literacy campaigns. Moreover, the government must actively engage with all relevant stakeholders to ensure their cooperation and support for the adoption of NHIF online services. By tackling these challenges head-on, NHIF can significantly improve its online service delivery, making healthcare access more efficient and convenient for Kenyans. Ultimately, these efforts may lead to an improved quality of life and overall well-being for the citizens of Kenya.


Not only does NHIF online guarantee the accessibility of quality healthcare services in Kenya, but it also ensures its affordability. The insurance scheme already provides for the subsidization of healthcare costs while NHIF online has been invented to herald an unprecedented adoption of the NHIF services. To make things even easier, there are plans to introduce scratch cards in fixed increments as another convenient and flexible option for the remittance of monthly premium contributions from informal sector populations. For this offering, NHIF intends to contract with agents who have access to remote, internal, and marginalized areas of the country where branch offices may not exist.

All these benefits and more await every Kenyan who intends to utilize the services of the NHIF online platform. Also, don’t forget to choose IntaSend for your payment needs. Whether you’re a business owner or an individual user who needs a payment processor that offers the best of everything, IntaSend is always the perfect choice. You can create an account here. If you intend to use it for business, learn more about IntaSend’s business payments here.

Page Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

© 2024 IntaSend. All rights reserved.