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FREE TO READ | The changing face of medical cover options

The feasibility of SA's national health insurance scheme is scrutinised, while affordability of health care in general is being tackled with new approaches

Affordability of health care is an important issue for South Africans.
Affordability of health care is an important issue for South Africans.
Image: 123RF/stockbroker

Most stakeholders agree that the current healthcare system, where the majority of the population rely on the public sector for the provision of health care, is not sustainable. The draft National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, published in 2019, proposes a system of universal health care for all South Africans based on pooled funds to provide access to quality and affordable health care to all the country’s citizens, irrespective of their socioeconomic status.

However, of concern is the many unanswered questions that remain, particularly about whether the country can afford to fund NHI. 

The increasing cost of living is having a knock-on effect on medical aid membership. Medical schemes face a tough balancing act, one that requires remaining affordable to members amid the rising cost of living, while also ensuring they can meet the healthcare costs of members.

Some members are downgrading to more affordable plans or turning to medical insurance policies offering a variety of day-to-day healthcare benefits. With the aim of making  private health care more accessible, Dis-Chem has launched a suite of health insurance offerings.

While SA’s healthcare industry is complex, a key insight from PwC’s SA Healthcare Reimagined report published earlier this month is that the Covid-19 pandemic has rapidly transformed the outlook of healthcare organisations in terms of their preparedness and resilience.


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