SA Government said that it expected the National Health Insurance (NHI) to be fully functional in South Africa by 2026.
On Thursday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize released the much-awaited bill in Pretoria and it was widely welcomed by various groups in the sector.
The Health Department said the bill promised to create a healthier population with benefits to foreign nationals, inmates and refugees.
Deputy Director-General Anban Pillay: “The NHI is intended to be implemented over a 7-year period from now. It’s planned to be fully implemented by 2026 through a phased implementation approach and the bill identifies the two phases – we are now in phase two – and then there’s a phase three thereafter. Phase two ends in 2022, phase three commences in 2023 to 2026.”
Health minister Zweli Mkhize has thrown the medical schemes industry a lifeline, with provisions in the latest iteration of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill that enable them to continue until the ambitious scheme for universal health coverage is fully implemented.
At that stage, they will be restricted to offering cover for “complementary” services not covered by NHI.
The development will offer welcome reassurance to medical schemes, their administrators and brokers, which feared they might be legislated out of existence in one fell swoop. The transition is also likely to give comfort to consumers who currently use medical schemes to pre-fund their access to private healthcare services.
Medical Billing Software to contnue unchanged until at least 2026.