You've probably heard many National Health Insurance (NHI) debates recently and seen headlines about the Bill; relevant to all South Africans. However, confusion remains concerning its role out, economic effects and its consequences and benefits for all South Africans as well as the role private medical aids will play in this scenario.
The main reason for the confusion is that many of these details haven't yet been decided or confirmed, and the Bill is still being challenged in parliament.
Here is clarity on certain key matters.
The NHI is a financial scheme that will provide access to quality healthcare for all South Africans and legal long-term residents. As many of our poorest citizens do not have such access, the NHI's objective is to level the playing field so all South Africans benefit from good healthcare.
There are many reasons why people are skeptical of the NHI, but here are the main concerns:
In principle, the NHI is a good one as sound healthcare is a human right, deserved by everyone. If the NHI succeeds it would be one of our countries' greatest achievements and would boost the economy, for example, by providing a healthier workforce. Countries which have implemented successful national health systems reap numerous benefits, including job creation, meeting sustainable development goals, and driving social inclusion.
Plans are to roll out the NHI schedule by 2026 over the following five stages:
September 2019 – March 2021: The NHI Fund is to be established and healthcare centres, like hospitals, will be NHI-accredited to be able to offer services paid for by the fund.
May 2020 – March 2021: The NHI will obtain funding from the national budget to expand and fund its service. Finer details need to be determined, for example, how healthcare providers will be paid.
April 2021 – March 2022: Some existing grants to the health department will be moved into the NHI, such as the TB grant.
April 2022: Gradually, some or all funds used in the current healthcare budget will be shifted to the NHI fund.
May 2022 onwards: During the final phase, the basic structures of the NHI will be in place. During this phase there will be a service expansion and new taxation options established for the fund. We will continue providing updates if and when they become available.
You may be asking yourself whether it is still worth having a private medical aid? As the government and medical schemes have stated that they will continue to play a role in the NHI, private medical funding is wise. We've made it easy for you to find the cover that will suit you and your family best – just use our medical aid comparison tool and get a range of quotes in minutes.
Sources: Spotlight; Business Tech; Department of Health
Prices quoted are correct at the time of publishing this article. The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.