NHI update - are medical aids done for in South Africa?

NHI update – are medical aids done for in South Africa?

Recently, conversations surrounding the National Health Insurance (NHI) have become a focal point in South Africa’s healthcare sector. The National Assembly has just passed the National Health Insurance Bill, pushing us one step closer to a major healthcare revolution. 

The burning question on everyone’s lips is: Will this be the end for medical aids in South Africa?

The Department of Health has reassured South Africans that private healthcare will continue to exist under the NHI, albeit in a considerably streamlined role. The NHI’s aim to make the state the sole purchaser of healthcare has sparked fears of the demise of private healthcare, with medical aid schemes, in particular, expected to serve no meaningful purpose under this new system. 

Despite these fears, the government insists that the private sector will remain active, although healthcare providers will not be allowed to set their own fees for NHI funded benefits.

Private healthcare providers will not be obligated to register with the NHI, however, the department encourages them to appreciate the benefits of doing so. By partnering with the NHI, healthcare providers will have the opportunity to offer services to a broader population. 

Conversely, patients who choose providers not contracted with the NHI will have to pay cash for services, and can only use their medical schemes to pay for benefits not covered by the Fund with non-NHI contracted providers.

The department has made it clear that medical aids are not being extinguished under the NHI. The NHI Fund will not be seizing the reserves of medical aids. Medical aids’ business models will evolve over time, with administrators seeing a decrease in the complexity of their services due to a reduction in options. 

Medical aid schemes will be allowed to offer only those health services not already covered by the NHI. As the NHI will provide a comprehensive healthcare service cover, Medical Aid schemes will essentially become optional, offering limited services.

The NHI will be funded predominantly through a mandatory pre-payment system and other forms of taxes collected by SARS and allocated to the Fund by Parliament. The department asserts that the financial impact of the NHI taxation system “must not create an increased burden on households compared to the current system”. As households reduce their spending on private healthcare and medical aid, these payments are anticipated to be redirected into the NHI Fund.

How will these changes impact EMERGIVAC customers?

Given these shifts in healthcare regulation, the appeal of insurance products such as those offered by EMERGIVAC becomes even more pronounced. EMERGIVAC is not a medical aid but an insurance product. Therefore, the changes ushered in by the NHI will not affect it.

EMERGIVAC provides its customers with a guarantee of private hospital admission, emergency medical and trauma assistance, 24/7 armed response protection, roadside assistance, and household assistance. These services are designed to shield consumers against significant health incidents, a critical role traditionally associated with health insurance. 

In the face of such dramatic changes to the healthcare landscape in South Africa, it’s clear that having a backup plan like EMERGIVAC can add a crucial layer of protection. With no requirements for medical check-ups, pre-authorisations, or exclusions for pre-existing conditions, EMERGIVAC serves as an ideal safety net when navigating medical emergencies in this new healthcare environment.

As EMERGIVAC, we want to conclude by emphasising that the upcoming implementation of NHI in South Africa will indeed bring about a change in the role of medical aids. However, it does not signal their end. While the healthcare landscape may be changing, services like ours can fill in the gaps, providing an additional layer of assurance when it comes to your health and safety. 

In these changing times, we remain committed to protecting you and your loved ones!


FAQs about the National Health Insurance (NHI) in South Africa

  1. Will the NHI completely eliminate medical aids in South Africa?
    The NHI aims to streamline the role of medical aids, but they will not be extinguished. Instead, they will offer limited services not covered by the NHI.
  2. What will be the role of private healthcare providers under the NHI?
    Private healthcare providers will continue to exist, but they won’t set their own fees for NHI-funded benefits. Registration with the NHI is optional for them.
  3. How will patients be affected if they choose non-NHI contracted providers?
    Patients opting for non-NHI contracted providers will have to pay cash for services. They can use medical schemes only for benefits not covered by the NHI.
  4. How will the NHI be funded, and will it create an increased burden on households?
    The NHI will be funded through a mandatory pre-payment system and taxes collected by SARS. The department assures it won’t increase households’ burden compared to the current system.
  5. What impact will the NHI have on EMERGIVAC customers?
    EMERGIVAC, as an insurance product, will remain unaffected by the NHI changes. Its services, including private hospital admission and emergency medical assistance, continue as before.
  6. Why is having a product like EMERGIVAC essential in the new healthcare landscape?
    With the evolving healthcare system, having EMERGIVAC offers an extra layer of protection, providing critical assistance during medical emergencies, regardless of NHI changes.

Note: EMERGIVAC is not a medical aid but an insurance product, serving as a safety net in these changing times.


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