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NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

NHI — why you shouldn’t quit your medical scheme just yet

NHI — why you shouldn’t quit your medical scheme just yet

Medical scheme members around the country are worried about how they will access healthcare after the President signed the National Health Insurance Bill into law last week.

The Board of Healthcare Funders has advised that schemes have been calling in on the back of members already trying to cancel their membership last week. If you do belong to a medical scheme, here are the reasons you should not cancel your scheme membership:

There is no implementation date in sight. Before the NHI can be implemented, the National Health Insurance Act includes a number of complex reforms, which will mean massive restructuring in the public and private healthcare sectors. This is unlikely to be concluded anytime soon. 

A funding mechanism has not been finalised. There has been widespread debate for several years about how the NHI will be funded. The most likely option might be an additional tax. Any details on tax amendments to raise resources for the NHI would be announced in a budget speech by the finance minister. However, the timing of such an amendment would be linked to the progress in setting up the NHI Fund and operationalising the NHI, which is likely to take several years if not decades.

There are several legal challenges in the works. The private healthcare industry is up in arms. The issue is not that they are against the NHI, but rather that the government failed to take note of their submissions and/or concerns before signing the NHI into law. The NHI cannot be implemented until the legal challenges have been resolved. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: NHI fund will take decades to roll out — we answer your burning questions

Read more in Daily Maverick: Ramaphosa ponders giving private sector more say in NHI roll-out – presidency spokesperson

Read more in Daily Maverick: Why the NHI is clearly a dream that never was nor is likely ever to be

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