The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) appears to be having second thoughts about its announcement that certain low-cost medical aid products will be illegal in just over a year, writes City Press.
At a CMS meeting with insurers, medical aids and other role players last week, it said it would continue to develop a framework for a low-cost benefit option, or something of a similar nature.
Last month, Dr Sipho Kabane, registrar for the CMS, announced by way of a circular that the low-cost model being developed, and all existing low-cost products, would undermine the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, which was government policy. In the letter, the CMS said the products that were set to become unlawful by March 2021 would consist mainly of primary healthcare plans for basic day-to-day care despite the fact the NHI is only due to begin delivering services in 2026.
But the CMS now appears to take a more accommodating approach.
The CMS said it planned to establish an advisory committee comprising industry representatives.
Richard Blackman, CEO of Day 1 Health, an insurer that offers these products, said he remained hopeful that negotiations with the CMS would lead to an appropriate solution for unlimited access to primary healthcare packages.
Mike Settas, from the Free Market Foundation’s health policy unit, said the reasons for the apparent turnaround were unclear. He said the registrar was now requesting discussions with role players to find a permanent solution for low-income products going forward.
But this process could take years, and the interim exemption framework will expire at the end of March.
Kabane defends stopping low-cost benefit options in a Fin24 report.Full City Press report Full Fin24 report
See alsoCMS CEO defends ‘rogue’ outlawing of low-cost medical scheme plans CMS move to scrap low-cost plans is ‘catastrophic and unconstitutional’