According to the latest news reports, the National Health Insurance South Africa is set to start operating in 2017. Treasury has said that the proposed NHI fund would start with maternal health services, improved psychiatric care and services for the elderly and disabled.

During the 2017/18 period, the National Treasury and the Department of Health will work with a wide range of stakeholders to publish the final national health insurance white paper, refine the draft implementation plan and revise cost estimates.

More about the National Health Insurance:

It’s no secret that most South Africans are reliant on the public health system as medical aid costs are generally unaffordable for most people.

Reforms are currently underway in the health system, which are intended to lay the foundation for the introduction of the National Health Insurance.

According to the Hospital Association of South Africa, there are only 25 State doctors and 92 private doctors per 100 000 people; while the world average is 152 per 100 000.

Statistics also show that 80% of medical specialists in South Africa are in the private healthcare sector and only 20% in the public healthcare sector, servicing 84% of the population.

The National Health Insurance is a health financing system that is designed to pool funds in order to provide access to quality affordable personal health services for all South Africans based on their health needs, irrespective of their socio-economic status.

It is being implemented in phases over a 14-year period that started in 2012.

Government has a plan to establish a body called the NHI Authority who will gather funds from tax payments.  Analysts have noted that South Africans already pay high personal taxes and fund matters such as healthcare and education from their own pockets, so additional taxes may be met with resistance.

The main priorities of the National Health Insurance:

  • Improving the management of public health services
  • Quality improvement audits
  • Infrastructure upgrades
  • Medical devices and equipment upgrade
  • Human resources planning, development and support
  • Information management modernisation
  • Setting up an NHI Fund