The Public Servants Association (PSA) has welcomed “with caution” aspects of the proposed Medical Schemes Amendment Bill and the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill announced by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Thursday.
“The PSA is of the view that if more people have adequate access to primary healthcare‚ the country will be on its way to restoring human dignity. The abolishment of medical co-payments is especially welcomed as relief for workers who struggle with monthly medical-aid scheme contributions‚” said PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks.
However‚ the PSA‚ which represents more than 240‚000 public sector employees‚ cautioned that the amendments should ensure that medical aid schemes and service providers do not have flexibility to simply adjust premiums and fees to recover costs.
On Thursday‚ Motsoaledi announced a number of changes to the Medical Schemes Amendment Act. These include the eradication of co-payments for medical aid members when medical aids do not cover their full doctor or hospital bills if the proposed Medical Schemes Amendment Act is passed.
Motsoaledi also announced that vaccinations‚ primary and preventative care and contraceptives have to be paid for by medical aids‚ which generally do not cover preventative healthcare. The Bill also proposes the abolishment of medical aid brokers.
The National Health Insurance (NHI) fund will be mandatory‚ Motsoaledi said. He explained that the NHI would be a single fund that everyone‚ who could afford to‚ would pay towards. It would be like a giant state-run medical aid.
The fund‚ according to Motsoaledi‚ would pay for all state and private healthcare in the country‚ including private specialists and hospitals.