5 Facts About The National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill

All information gathered from News24.com.

Parliament released the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill in early August of 2019. The NHI is a health financing system that is designed to pool funds to provide access to quality affordable personal health services for all South Africans based on their health needs, irrespective of their socio-economic status. Here are five facts about the NHI and how it is likely to affect working South Africans:

1. Who decides on funding?

The chief source of income will be appropriations from Parliament.

2. Who will pay for the NHI? 

In short, taxpayers. The Bill says the money will be collected “in accordance with social solidarity” through payroll taxes for employees and employers, a surcharge on personal income tax, the reallocation of medical scheme tax credits and general taxes. Money that Treasury currently allocates to provinces through the ‘provincial equitable share’ and ‘conditional grants’ will be shifted to the NHI Fund.  

3. Who audits the fund?

The Auditor General of South Africa will audit annual reports.

4. Who has oversight of the fund?

The fund must produce annual reports to be submitted to Parliament and the Health Minister. The audited finances must also form part of the report. Additional reporting elements include the activities undertaken and progress made.

5. Will you be able to go to a specialist directly? 

No — if you do, the NHI won’t pay for it. You will have to register at an NHI-accredited primary healthcare facility, and, each time you need healthcare, you will have to go to that facility. You will only be able to consult a specialist if the doctor or nurse at your primary healthcare facility deems it necessary to refer you to one. If you’re travelling and fall ill, you’ll be able to go to an accredited facility in the area you’re visiting. 

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