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University of Nairobi set to begin a post-retirement medical scheme

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  1. Most University staff during the period they serve in active employment live in fairly decent environment. The members of staff concentrate their lifetime and efforts on teaching, research, and fully serving the University in various capacities. It will be imperative that on retirement such members of staff maintain a fairly dignified way of living. The Pension Scheme provides assurance of an income upon retirement. The proposed Post Retirement Medical Scheme would ensure provision of health care upon retirement.
  1. The University of Nairobi (UON) as an employer provides medical cover to active members through group medical scheme, administered through the University Health Services (UHS).  Upon their retirement, the members of staff cease to receive benefits from the group medical scheme of University. The sudden withdrawal of medical benefits enjoyed by members coupled with increased age and the shift of medical burden to the members is traumatic because medical requirements and costs tend to increase with age. Further, medical costs tend to escalate in one’s retirement.
  1. From research carried out in the country, it has been observed that one of the causes of early deaths soon after retirement is the lack of appropriate medical care for retirees. Therefore in order for an individual to receive adequate and comprehensive medical care after retirement, some form of long-term financial planning is required to provide for post retirement medical needs.
  1. On account of numerous queries on provision of a post retirement medical scheme during education days organised for members of the University of Nairobi Pension Scheme 2007, the Trustees of the Pension Scheme recognized the need to formally explore possibilities of setting up such a scheme. A number of professionals in health management organizations and medical insurance companies in the market were consulted. However these firms had indicated that they did not have appropriate/ requisite experience in operating post retirement medical schemes.
  1. The UNPS Trustees carried out preliminary groundwork on the viability of setting up the Post Retirement Medical Scheme for University staff. From the findings the proposal is viable. There are two major organizations, which are already successfully operating such schemes. The Armed Forces and the National Security Intelligent services. The Central Bank of Kenya is also in the process of setting up a similar scheme for its staff.
  1. It therefore became apparent that there was need for a Post Retirement Medical Scheme to be set up for members of staff of the University of Nairobi. The key objective would be to provide access to adequate, affordable and comprehensive medical care for pensioners, their spouses and dependent children.
  1. During the various members’ education forums, the Trustees requested members to indicate whether they would be interested in participating in a post retirement medical arrangement. The response had been unanimously overwhelming. The Pension Scheme Trustees however could not go further than that since setting up the Post Retirement Medical Scheme is not part of their mandate as per the Retirement Benefit Act. It was therefore necessary that members of staff in their individual capacities grouped themselves kick off the formation of the post retirement medical scheme.
  1. A Steering Committee was formed which is spearheading the establishment of a post retirement medical scheme. The members are: -
    Prof. J. Wang’ombe           Convener
    Prof. J. S. Oliech                 Member
    Prof. G. P. Pokhariyal         Member
    Prof. V. N. Kimani               Member
    Prof. P. W. Kariuki               Member   
    Dr. S. Ochiel                        Member
    Ms. M. Ngecu                      Member
    Prof. P. G. O. Weke            Member
    Dr. D. M. Bulinda                Member
    Ms. R. W. Ngondo              Member
    Mr. N. A. Oyugi                   Member
    Mr. J. Orwa                          Member
    Mr. C. O. Otage                  Secretary
    Mr. S. Kiboi                        Assist. Secretary   
  1. The greatest worry for most retirees is health care. The Objective of the University of Nairobi Post Retirement Medical Scheme (PRMS) will be to help the retirees to access health care in retirement, and hence will provide peace of mind for the retirees. Social security, income, shelter, access to medical health care, are basic human needs and provide means of maintaining/ preserving human dignity.
  1. The PRMS will be set up as a separate institution from the UON, under trust and it will operate as a medical savings Scheme with pooled funds and the level of benefits will be dependent upon the level of contributions made since joining the scheme. The Scheme will be contributory and voluntary and different levels of contributions will be determined for the different levels of benefits packages designed.
  1. More information will be provided once the Steering Committee have finalised on all the appropriate groundwork and determined the different levels of contributions and the envisaged medical cover packages that members will take up in retirement.
Members are free to make suggestions and/ or seek enquiries from the Steering Committee.