Maternity Insurance Covers in Kenya

Maternity Insurance Covers in Kenya

Having a baby is an exciting time but it can be overwhelming for expectant parents, and if you don’t have health insurance in place, there are lots of things to think about. A normal delivery can cost between KSH 30,000 and KSH 150,000 and a C-section can cost between KSH 100,000 and KSH 300,000. So, where do you start?

Health care in Kenya varies greatly depending on where you are. In rural areas, health care is very basic and usually focused on prevention and immunization. The public health system in Kenya works by escalating more serious issues up the system. The first point of contact is a dispensary, which provides preventative medicine, basic health education and out-patient treatment for illnesses such as uncomplicated malaria.

As an insurance expert, I get a lot of questions relating to maternity covers from concerned expectant mothers and fathers. To set the record straight, there is no retail, individual or family medical insurance scheme in Kenya that will cover an expecting mother without a mandatory waiting period. A pregnancy can never be classified as an accident in the insurance world (although for many young couples, it often comes about in the most unplanned manner). Therefore, once a woman is already expecting, it beats the logic of insurance trying to purchase insurance for a risk, which has already occurred. Understandably, no insurer will accept to collect an insurance premium of let’s say Kshs.15, 000 in return for a maternity insurance bill of Kshs. 120,000 in the next 8 or less months. Even in the other parts of the world for example in the United Kingdom, leading medical insurers also have similar conditions and waiting periods for pregnancy e.g BUPA, AETNA, NOW HEALTH etc.

This begs the questions, what should I do if I am already pregnant? What are my options? What advice can you give me? This can be a source of worry and stress for young/first time mothers, trying to find the right information to make sure that they have a smooth pregnancy and safe delivery for themselves and their child.

NHIF – National Hospital Insurance Fund

National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is a government run medical insurance service, developed with the eventual goal of offering universal healthcare for all Kenyans. All citizens in the formal and informal sectors in Kenya are required to be members of the fund. The fund is the main source of medical insurance for Kenyans after the demise of the Linda Jamii medical cover in 2015. It is very important to be a paid up member of NHIF because of the comprehensive medical insurance benefits this membership affords you as a member and declared spouse and children. It is advisable to pay an upfront lump sum amount for the membership instead of paying monthly, as the system may take some time to reflect the payments, which may inconvenience you at the time of seeking treatment. The NHIF monthly contributions are pocket friendly for all income brackets, you can talk to the experts at imana insurance to find out how much the premiums for your monthly income bracket will be.

Every Kenyan should consider NHIF membership because it subsidizes cost of treatment especially for those without a personal or corporate medical cover. The NHIF has recently expanded its scope of coverage, range of benefits and medical provider panel. While it previously only covered the expenses for hospitalization of members at listed medical providers and hospitals, the NHIF now takes care of costs associated with outpatient services, the treatment of cancer and the cost of dialysis, surgeries as announced in the new NHIF benefits. This means you get access to comprehensive care i.e. walking in and out of any hospital under category A and B without paying a single cent as a negotiated amount is already set between the hospital and NHIF. But note that it does not apply to surgical cases in Hospitals under contract B where members do co-pay. Whether these services are really free is a subject of discussion in another forum. What exactly is covered by NHIF? I also don’t know.

I have my own reservations about the effectiveness of the NHIF comprehensive benefit package. You can’t depend on it fully; it can let you down when you need it the most as from my most recent experiences. I recently visited one hospital in Westlands in Nairobi. I have been using my and cards on outpatient; this time I decided to use NHIF since I contribute a good chunk of my monthly package to this scheme. I was ushered to a separate waiting bay, billing section, consultation and pharmacy, which are deliberately set for universal/NHIF patients. I was treated like an individual seeking free services. The doctor prescribed benzoyl peroxide, which goes for at most Ksh. 800. According to the pharmacist at the NHIF section, this medication is not covered. I was instructed to either pay in cash for the medication or go seek the services from a government hospital!

NHIF Maternity Benefit

Luckily for many Kenyans, the NHIF will cover maternity insurance even if the member joins the scheme when they are already expecting, this is unlike the retail medical insurance products we have in Kenya.
For maternity, normal delivery NHIF covers up to Ksh.10, 000 and Caesarean Section patients will get up to Ksh. 30,000.

These maternity limits are not sufficient even for category A hospitals leave alone category B. For category C hospitals, the likes of Nairobi Hospital, Aga Khan, Ksh.10, 000 is not even sufficient for a single day bed limit in a category C hospital. If you thought NHIF is sufficient, you should think again. An average normal delivery cost in Kenya is around Ksh.37, 500, for the same normal delivery in Category C hospital like Agha Khan, the advertised rates for this package start at a minimum of KSh. 99, 000.

In a nutshell, what am I saying? The NHIF maternity cover may be good news for an expectant mother but it is not sufficient even for normal delivery in a Category A hospital. It leaves a large gap, which needs to be filled with either cash payment or a private medical insurance plan. Ideally, one should have an additional medical plan to cushion these expenses. The joy of a newborn baby may be short lived when the hospital presents a very big medical bill for the maternity expenses.

Many Kenyans may not want to register for privately funded health insurance plans because of the perceived high cost. When you buy a commercial medical insurance policy from a local healthcare provider such as AAR Insurance, APA Insurance, Jubilee Insurance RESOLUTION Insurance, UAP-OLD MUTUAL and other medical insurance providers in Kenya, your insurance is calculated net of the NHIF contribution to your hospitalization. Since membership in NHIF is mandatory for employed persons, health insurance companies assume that everyone who buys additional insurance from them is actually buying ADDITIONAL insurance. The policy benefits are therefore calculated net of the amount NHIF should pay. If you do not keep your NHIF contributions current, you may have to foot an amount equivalent to what NHIF should pay, depending on the insurance company you are with.

Maternity cover is usually included as an enhancement of a basic health insurance policy. It has a waiting period meaning the member cannot enjoy the benefits immediately they are accepted on cover. The waiting period varies from 10 months up to 24 months for some providers. Maternity insurance in Kenya usually meets the costs of ante, postnatal care, hospitalization, including delivery and any eventualities such as congenital illnesses that may result from the pregnancy. Due to its nature as an “assured risk”, the maternity cover in many ways is a customer retention element used by insurance companies.

Good health is such a foundational matter in life, without it, it becomes difficult to live and enjoy life, achieve any important life goals. Medical insurance plans in Kenya are very affordable, there are a variety of economy packages with affordable premiums of under KSh 10, 000 per adult. You do not need to take on a cover of limit KSh 10 million, for most people, limits of KSh 1 million are more than sufficient to meet in patient medical bills. In addition, it is possible to enroll on one of the affordable plan for less than KSh 15, 000 per annum. One needs to look at their needs, budget, and benefits and compare quotes available in the market before finding the best compromise.

My advice to the young generation; as you constitute that wedding committee, don’t forget to put a health plan in mind since you are about to start a family. Medical and education are sure expenses in any family set up. Kids will bring joy, but planning for them you must.

MiCover By Imana and Healthier Kenya Ltd

Unitas Insurance Agency Kenya {Now Imana Insurance Agency Kenya Ltd} in partnership with Healthier Kenya Ltd, Medical Administrators Kenya Ltd and Medicross Ltd launched MiCover micro-health plan in April 2021 to address maternity concerns. This plan covers principal, spouse and 2 children at cost of Ksh.24,000 per year. This family of 4, share benefits as below;

  • In-Patient Ksh. 650,000
  • Out-Patient Ksh. 75,000
  • Maternity Ksh. 100,000
  • Optical Ksh. 10,000
  • Dental Ksh.10,000

This unique family micro-health plan has reduced maternity waiting period from the 10 to 3 months. What does this mean? Expectant parents can now enjoy Ksh.100,000 maternity cover with waiting periods of only 3 months. Adding MiCover to NHIF maternity benefit, means a family can settle up to Ksh. 130,000 of hospital bills. MiCover maternity package has since benefited over 100 families in Kenya.

Are you looking for an insurance quote?

If you are looking for a quotation for health insurance or any other insurance covers, let us know by starting an online chat with one of our sales specialists or simply get in touch with us on our contact details below ! Check out what other customers are saying about their covers by visiting

By Raymond Momanyi

The writer is the Founder and CEO, Unitas Insurance Agency Kenya Ltd now IMANA. A leading online insurance agency in Kenya

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