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Health Insurance In Kenya: How To Get It (For Expats And Locals)

Health Insurance In Kenya: How To Get It (For Expats And Locals)

avatar - Megan Lewis

Megan Lewis

Commercial Lead

Kenya is a popular destination because of its stunning wildlife and rich culture. But like many countries, its public healthcare system lacks modern resources. Private healthcare, on the other hand, has a much higher standard, but comes with high costs. That’s why health insurance in Kenya may be a good idea if you want access to quality healthcare in the country without having to dip into your savings to cover the costs.

This article will tell you how to get medical insurance in Kenya, why consider William Russell as your international health insurance provider in Kenya, and what Kenyan healthcare is like.

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How to get private health insurance in Kenya

Because of the relatively low quality of public healthcare in Kenya, many expats (and Kenyan citizens) opt for international health insurance.

One option for finding health insurance in Kenya is to speak to a broker. There are many brokers operating within Kenya and there’s also plenty that provide their services online. Brokers have a good understanding of the international health insurance market, and they can help you compare different insurance providers.

Another option is to reach out directly to an insurance provider for a personalised quote. For instance, we can give you a quote in less than 3 minutes. We’ll get in touch with you to help understand the fine print in our policies and find a plan that fits your specific needs and circumstances.

How to get health insurance in Kenya with William Russell

If you’re looking for international health insurance in Kenya, consider William Russell. We have been providing high-quality health coverage to expatriates (and locals) since 1992. We have four plan levels — Bronze, SilverLite, Silver, and our most premium plan, Gold. 

Regardless of your plan, you’ll be covered for local ambulances, private hospital treatment, advanced diagnostics, treatment for cancer, transplants and emergency medical evacuation. You’ll also have access to a 24/7 emergency medical helpline. Our premium plans cover doctor visits, out-patient care, pregnancy & maternity care, and more comprehensive dental care.

With William Russell, you can also choose from six different regions of coverage, which we call “zones”. If you’re based in Kenya but frequently travel to other African countries, Zone 5 would be a good option. If you also need coverage in South Africa, Zone 4 might be more suitable. Of course, the more coverage you need, the higher your premium will be.

Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 4 Zone 5
Worldwide cover, with restricted cover in the USA Full cover in most countries, with restricted cover where private healthcare is expensive but no cover in the USA Full cover in Africa & Indian Subcontinent, with restricted cover elsewhere but no cover in the USA Full cover in Africa (except South Africa) & Indian Subcontinent, with restricted cover elsewhere but no cover in the USA


Want to know more about life as an expat in Kenya?
Our full guide covers everything you need to know

Why choose William Russell health insurance in Kenya?

Quick application process

The duration of the application process varies depending on your requirements. We can set up an individual policy in just a few working days. If you’re looking to cover your employees, the process may take a bit longer if we require additional information from your team.

To get started, simply request a quote, and we’ll present you with our plan options. Once you decide on the right plan, a team member will get in touch with you and guide you through the process.

Exceptional customer service

At William Russell, we take pride in having a high standard of customer service. You can see our commitment to providing the best customer experience possible in our 4.4 rating on Feefo.

We prioritise personalised attention, ensuring you never feel like just another number. For example, we assign you a dedicated policy manager when you become a William Russell member. With this personalised approach, you won’t have to repeat your story to multiple people whenever you need to reach out.

Global coverage

Life is full of adventures and new experiences, and your insurance coverage should be able to keep up with your dynamic lifestyle. That’s why we offer four different areas of coverage or “zones” to cater to your specific needs. Whether you require global cover or comprehensive coverage within Africa, we have options to suit your travel and living arrangements. As a William Russell member, you’ll have confidence that your insurance will provide support wherever you go.

Easy claims process 

Making a claim can seem daunting. But at William Russell, we’ve streamlined the process to make it as hassle-free as possible. The claims process changes depending on your circumstances — for instance, with in-patient treatment, we’ll pay your fees directly to the hospital (where you may pay an excess or deductible). For out-patient care, you pay for it upfront and we’ll reimburse you.

Find out more about our hassle-free
claims process in our full guide

Claims assessment in 10 days 

We understand that waiting for a claim assessment can be a source of stress. At William Russell, we strive to ease that stress by aiming to assess your claim within 10 days. Your dedicated claims manager will be by your side, keeping you informed throughout the process. 

With our efficient claim assessment, you can focus your energy on your well-being. 

24/7 emergency helpline and expert support

Emergencies can occur at any time, which is why our 24/7 emergency helpline is always available to our members. No matter the hour, help is just a phone call away. 

We also understand that certain conditions require specialised support, which is why we have a team of specialist claims managers who are trained to handle specific needs, such as cancer care, health emergencies, and maternity care. With William Russell, you’ll always receive the proper support for your condition. 

Comprehensive medical evacuation process

In case of a medical emergency that requires evacuation, William Russell has you covered. Our comprehensive medical evacuation process ensures that, in a life or limb-threatening situation, you’ll reach the most suitable medical facility as quickly as possible. We take care of all the logistics involved in arranging the evacuation, including the best means of transport (e.g. using an air ambulance if required).

We cover every William Russell member for medical evacuations so you can have peace of mind knowing that we’ll look out for you in an emergency. 

Curious about our medical evacuation process?
Get all the details on emergency medical evacuation

Partnerships with top medical facilities in Africa

When it comes to your health, we believe you deserve treatment at the best health facilities. That’s why we have built strong relationships with some of the top medical facilities in Africa. While you’re welcome to choose your preferred hospital, our partnerships mean we can direct you towards the best medical centres in the area. 

Individual, family, and group plans 

With William Russell, you have the flexibility to add on health insurance cover for your partner and children in the same policy. If you have employees and want to provide them with insurance, we can offer a flexible group policy.

For instance, we can provide international health coverage for a tourist company in Kenya that hires a lot of expats. In this case, we can offer differing plan levels for different employees, meaning you can cover your team in a way (and at a cost) that suits you.

Living overseas and searching for the best health insurance?
We look at everything you should consider before purchasing

Optional income protection & life insurance 

We also offer life insurance and income protection plans. As you’d be with the same provider, you can keep all of your insurance needs in one easy-to-manage place. 

Trusted partnerships

An insurer in the Allianz group, one of the largest and most trusted insurance companies in the world, insures all our plans. This means you get a high level of financial security in our plans, while benefiting from our personalised customer experience and international insurance expertise. 

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Kenya’s healthcare system: What to expect

The quality of healthcare in Kenya requires a lot of investment and improvement. Though improving universal health coverage is one of Kenya’s main goals, its standard of public healthcare is outdated and has too few medical staff to cater to the population. If you need hospital care, specialised treatment (and private rooms) are unlikely to be available in the public healthcare system. 

There are only a handful of medical centres in rural areas, which face more significant healthcare challenges than cities like Nairobi due to the shortage of doctors and nurses. Despite these hurdles, Kenya has made great strides in tackling significant health problems, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, through national programs and collaborations with international organisations.

Recent initiatives from the Kenyan government’s National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) have also led to a free public healthcare service for basic conditions for all Kenyan citizens. Expats can access these services for a small fee.

However, if you can afford it, private healthcare offers a higher standard of care. The private healthcare available in Kenya offers a better standard of treatment and facilities for specialised procedures. However, paying for private treatment as needed can become expensive – so most expats and locals pay for health insurance. 

Want a reliable health insurance provider in Kenya?
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How to stay healthy and safe in Kenya: 3 ways

Here are three precautions against health risks you may want to consider while living in Kenya:

1/ Get your vaccinations

Your first line of defence against diseases is vaccines. As per the CDC’s recommendations, ensure your routine vaccinations are up to date, and make sure you get vaccinated for:

  • Yellow fever
  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid fever
  • Hepatitis B
  • Rabies
  • Meningococcal meningitis

2/ Take precautions against crime

Kenya experiences high crime rates, so be cautious — particularly after dark and in isolated areas. Carry identification at all times, and if approached by police officers or security guards, don’t hesitate to ask for their ID. 

3/ Check government advice

Always check the latest government advice before travelling to Kenya. At present, UK and USA advisories suggest avoiding all areas within 60km of the Somalian border.

The costs of private health insurance can vary
Discover the average expat health insurance costs

FAQ about health insurance in Kenya

Healthcare in Kenya isn’t entirely free. In 2013, Kenya launched the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). This universal healthcare program provides health insurance for Kenyan citizens to access essential medical services for free in most public health centres. 

Malaria is a significant issue in Kenya. The World Health Organization reported that Kenya accounted for about 4% of all malaria cases worldwide in 2019. This equates to an estimated 3.5 million cases and over 10,000 deaths. Children under five years of age and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable.

Fortunately, you can take several steps to protect yourself against malaria:

  • Stay stocked up on antimalarial medication.
  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or IR3535.
  • Dress appropriately for the outdoors. Wear long-sleeved shirts, bottoms, and hats,  especially during dusk and dawn.
  • Use insecticide-treated bed nets, even better if the nets can tuck under the mattress.
  • Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened accommodations.
  • Get rid of standing water around your accommodation.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you develop symptoms of malaria, such as fever, chills, and flu-like symptoms.

William Russell members who believe to have malaria can call our 24/7 emergency helpline if they can’t get to a nearby clinic.

Most Kenyans don’t have health insurance. According to a 2018 report by the Association of Kenya Insurers, approximately 2.7 million people out of a population of over 50 million had private health insurance. For those who can afford it, private healthcare is popular, as it offers a higher quality of care and eases pressure on the public healthcare system.

The cost of private health insurance in Kenya can vary depending on your circumstances. However, with William Russell, you can get a quote in less than three minutes, and we can usually set up your policy within two days.

By taking out an international health insurance policy with William Russell, you can avoid paying the high fees of private healthcare. For example, the average cost of private healthcare in Kenya can range from KSh2,500 (US$23) for a basic consultation to over KSh300,000 (US$2,750) for complex surgeries. 

With William Russell, you can simply pay your monthly premium, be aware of your excess and rest easy knowing you’re covered. 

Choose William Russell for your health insurance in Kenya

Navigating the health landscape in a foreign country can be daunting, but with proper preparation and the right medical insurance cover, it doesn’t have to be. 

Whether you’re considering a move to Kenya, planning an extended stay, or are already a local, a comprehensive health insurance plan from a trusted provider like William Russell can offer you the peace of mind you need to live an extraordinary life in Kenya.

With coverage tailored to your unique needs, you can focus more on your Kenyan adventure and less on worrying about your health.

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