Their welfare association on Monday said it was not consulted when the board of the NHIF passed the new fees yet it represents more than 70,000 contributors.
Further, they threatened to advise their members to join private insurance health providers.
“Our appeal goes to the board of the NHIF to review the rates before it is too late in the day,” said Mr Francis Ngariuku, the association’s secretary general.
“We were supposed to be consulted when the board sat to review the fee. This is going to be expensive on our members and will not be allowed,” he added.
Mr Ngariuku said he was contemplating seeking to be enjoined on a suit where the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) wants the Industrial Court to nullify the increased fees.
“If such a law is passed in bad taste, then it should be opposed as much,” he said, terming the act of the board as “grossly unfair.”
The association has requested a meeting with Medical Services minister Anyang Nyong’o to iron out the matter and settle on a comfortable amount for all members.
“We agree that change is inevitable, but increasing the amount by 600 per cent is immoral,” Mr Ngariuku said at his offices in Bima House.
In the new NHIF rates, employees earning more than Sh100,000 will pay Sh2,000 a month, up from Sh320, while those earning between Sh50,000 and Sh100,000 will contribute Sh1,000.
Those earning less than Sh30,000 but more than Sh25,000 will contribute Sh850, while employees whose monthly pay is less than Sh6,000 will pay Sh150 every month. Currently, they pay between Sh30 and Sh120.
Self-employed Kenyans seeking to benefit will pay Sh500 a month while the unemployed can pay Sh300 a month.
Cotu boss Francis Atwoli went to court against the fees and his suit was certified as urgent.
“Kenyan workers remain among the heaviest taxed worldwide and any additional burden of tax on their meagre pay will not be tolerated,” he said.
Justice James Rika made the order on last week and the case will be heard on August 20, with the Federation of Kenya Employers being enjoined.
NHIF board chairperson, Prof Richard Muga and chief executive officer, Mr Richard Kerich published the new rates in the official Kenya Gazette dated June 29.
Mr Kerich subsequently wrote to employers asking them to effect the new rates on September 1.
“We wish to advise employers and contributors that the newly gazetted NHIF contribution rates take effect from 1st September to enable provision of Outpatient Care Services from October 1,” said the letter.
But in its suit papers, Cotu wants NHIF restrained from “interfering, enforcing or implementing” the new rates until the case is heard and determined.
The papers say NHIF planned to implement the changes without consultation or approval “and the court has the duty to stop the fund from loading the workers with heavy contributions without proper mandate.”