It’s a Stick-Up. Your Money or Your Health

    September 30, 2018

    One wonders if South Africa will ever restore the healthcare system. It’s crumbling at an alarming rate. So much so, that the South African Committee of Medical Deans (SACoMD) has asked government to tackle the health crisis. But as at September 2018, the health system shows no improvement and continues to spiral downwards.

    It was already in 2014, as a result of widespread complaints about rising premiums with ever lesser benefits. That year the  Competition Commission set up an inquiry into the private healthcare market.

    The name of the inquiry is the Health Market Inquiry (HMI). Independent experts served and the chairman former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo. The idea was also that Minister Aaron Motsoaledi withdraw the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill. He would keep it back until the Competition Commission finalied the HMI.

    South Africans realize that this HMI could lead to nothing as usual. They believe that the government Health Costs in South Africawill simply ignore it simply because it isn’t in keeping with the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.

    Some of the Health Findings …

    • The HM released the preliminary report of the 4 year investigation into South Africa’s private healthcare. It has found that the market shows steady rising medical scheme premiums. These have come with increasing out-of-pocket payments for medical aid members. Ad all the while services have decreased.
    • The HM’s preliminary report found that even though South Africans had 22 open medical schemes to choose from, there were just 2 dominating the market – Discovery Health and Medscheme.
    • The inquiry also noted that as far as the private hospital sector was concerned, there were 3 together that held a market share of 83% which meant many poor South Africans not being able to use them.
    • Also, medical aid members are ill informed. They don’t know that they’re paying for and whether they actually need what they’re paying for. Known by economists as an information asymmetry, this lack of knowledge makes medical aid members vulnerable to exploitation.
    • The inquiry has found that the private sector is anti-competitive and that medical scheme administrators are benefiting from huge profits because medical aid members are paying out far more and receiving less

    Recommendations

    The inquiry’s recommendations include huge changes to the medical schemes environment with the aim being to bring down costs and improve efficiency. Efficiency should start with tackling the public health system before forging ahead with the private sector.

    Good healthcare may well be a constitutional right but South Africans are being exploited in the private sector and carried out in coffins when attempting the other alternative – the public sector.

    Both systems need working on, but the way things are in the healthcare industry in 2018, the health crisis is deepening and looks to be a long way from being solved. Your money or your health. The Government isn’t particularly concerned about your health, but they like the idea of taking your money with no guarantees of you getting anything back for it.

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    All info was correct at time of publishing