Government u-turns on plans to ‘scrap’ medical aids in SA: report

The Department of Health’s director-general, Precious Matsoso, is reportedly considering doing a u-turn on government’s intentions to scrap South Africa’s medical schemes – and is instead looking for ways the plans can work with the state when it rolls out National Health Insurance.

According to a report by TimesLive, Matsoso met with several leaders of the medical aid plan sector and asked that they work together to reform healthcare in South Africa.

“The Department of Health is consulting all stakeholders, private, civil society and labour, to get further inputs [on NHI]. All meetings have been positive. We look forward to further engagements,” said Matsoso.

The Department of Health’s original 2015 white paper detailing the NHI plan had stated that it was now official government policy that medical aid schemes would not exist in their current form when NHI was rolled out. Instead they would all be collapsed into a single state-run medical aid plan.

Earlier this year Government and Treasury made a number of changes to gap cover and cash-back plans across the country, in its first steps to transform the healthcare sector.

The new regulations stipulate that hospital cash-back plans are limited to paying their clients a maximum of R3,000 per day, or a total lump sum of R20,000 per year. Currently there are no limits in place for these payments.

Gap cover policies will now also be limited to a payout of R150,000 per annum, per client.

Read: Two massive medical aid changes coming in 2017 that you need to know about

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