The National Health Insurance (NHI) will become a reality in South Africa soon. How is it going to change the face of the healthcare industry in South Africa?
5 National Health Insurance Facts Should Be Aware of:
Here are five facts you will need to know as the NHI takes effect:
National Health Insurance Fact #1: Comprehensive Medical Aid Will Be a Thing of the Past
Once the NHI is fully implemented, private medical schemes will not be allowed to cover any services that NHI offers. The NHI will cover all main healthcare services and medical aid schemes will only be able to offer complimentary cover. This is set to happen by 2026.
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National Health Insurance Fact #2: The NHI Will Amount to Comprehensive Cover
The NHI bill does not state exactly which services the scheme will cover. It merely mentions that it will cover “comprehensive healthcare services”. An advisory panel is still deciding exactly what this will include but what is certain is that they will all be offered for free, with no co-payments.
National Health Insurance Fact #3: Consultations with Specialists Won’t be Allowed Except With a Referral
Members of the public will have to register with an NHI-accredited primary healthcare facility and will need to be referred to a specialist. If a patient consults a specialist directly, the NHI will not pay for it.
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National Health Insurance Fact #4: The NHI ill be paid for through by funds collected by SARS
Taxpayers will be footing the bill for the NHI. The funds needed to pay for the scheme will be collected by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) through payroll taxes, surcharges on personal income tax and a reallocation of medical scheme tax credits. The National Treasury currently allocates funds to the provinces through the ‘provincial equitable share’ and ‘conditional grants’ will be reallocated to the NHI.
National Health Insurance Fact #5: It will involve a massive reorganisation of the healthcare system
When Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced the new system, he said that no fewer than 12 existing pieces of legislation will have to be amended in order to accommodate it. Healthcare providers, government, the public, medical aid companies and suppliers to the healthcare industry, will have to alter the way they operate once the scheme comes into effect.
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