All elderly people of age 70 and above will receive monthly stipend from the government and free medical cover from January 2018, irrespective of their income level.
Henry Rotich the Treasury secretary said the annual payment—Sh7.4 billion overall —intended to ease suffering of the segment will also see all elderly persons in the country get a National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover.
It is an enhancement of the previous cash transfer initiated in 2012 which targeted individuals above 65 years living in extreme poverty.
Life expectancy in Kenya has risen due to better healthcare despite the elderly lack of pension plans. It gets worse if they live in urban areas where inflation is unforgiving.
During the Budget Statement yesterday, Rotich proposed that beginning January, 2018, all persons of age 70 and above will receive a cash transfer in the form of monthly stipend NHIF cover that will be paid by the Government.
He added that the policy is an indication that the government cares for its senior citizens. He said old persons covered under the existing transfers for those over 65 years and those with disability will continue.
A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015 estimates life expectancy in Kenya at 63 years. When the cash transfer for the elderly program was introduced the plan was to ensure that its senior citizens do not slide into extreme poverty, hunger and consequently, premature death.
NHIF introduced a new package last year, catering for members with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer and kidney failure.
The highest monthly contribution under the fund is 1,700 shillings for those earning 100,000 shillings and above. Those earning between 12,000 shillings and 14,999 shillings contribute the lowest monthly premium of 500 shillings.
Written by Amina Martha.