Kenya progressing toward biometric deployment in all hospitals to curb health insurance fraud

At least 1,370 hospitals in Kenya have deployed biometric kits in a bid to stamp out health insurance fraud as the country moves toward biometric records in every hospital by 2020, Kenyan daily The Star reports.

Kenya’s National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has roughly 6.7 million members, according to the report, and serves some 20 million out of a population of more than 48 million. The NHIF recently took one medical facility to court, and 26 others are under investigation, in response to a fraud problem which costed the NHIF and other insurers Sh324.7 million (US$3.22 million) in 2015, a 215 percent increase from 2014.

In response, the NHIF began biometric registration of civil servants and security officers in 2015 as its first step toward migrating all members to smart cards for hospital services. NHIF branch offices will also perform biometric registration of students, under a program to extend health insurance to students of public secondary schools nationwide.

Kenya has set a goal of providing universal healthcare to all citizens by 2022. Kenyan hospitals will soon begin a pilot project with a device for capturing infant biometrics developed by UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute. Meanwhile, the Federal Government recently announced that it will launch a national biometric ID program this year.

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