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Major insurers shrug off hospital cash plan regulations

Clientele and Hollard, two major insurers that offer hospital cash plans, have indicated they will not be adversely affected by the Treasury’s new healthcare demarcation regulations, reports Business Day. The regulations, a joint Treasury and Department of Health exercise, are designed to protect consumers by curbing abuses in the market. The regulations will come into force in April and are intended to differentiate between medical healthcare schemes and health insurance.

Clientele group MD Basil Reekie said benefits which would be offered on new policies would be the same, or similar, to the ones being phased out. The company would make minor tweaks as a result of the regulations, but would still offer hospital cash plans. "Clientele has been involved in the consultative process and has ensured that policy terms on new business have been changed over time to mirror the expected changes," he said.

Reekie said in the report that Clientele would not be able to use "hospital" in its products, and its use in marketing would have to adhere to stringent guidelines.

Hollard spokesperson Warwick Bloom said that in the past most products differentiated rates based on policyholders’ age, gender and claims history. This would have to change under the new regulations. Bloom said hospital cover would be capped at R3,000 a day and insurers would be prohibited from refusing to take on new clients.

The company was evaluating the regulations to understand if it was possible, and sensible, to continue offering hospital cash plans. Hollard has more than 150,000 hospital cash plan policies on its books.

The Treasury said recently that the regulations were introduced to create a level playing field for insurance products and medical schemes.

[link url="https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/healthcare/2017-01-23-insurers-shrug-off-healthcare-regulations/"]Business Day report[/link]

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