INTERVIEW to ensure our Selfmed members receive good healthcare. We are able to attend to requests for ex-gratia payments on a case-by-case basis and our members appreciate knowing that their health conditions are not compared to other people’s, but are evaluated individually. Furthermore, because our cash reserves are so high and our systems (administration, call centre and marketing, etc) are managed internally, members feel confident about the level of service we can provide. What is your view of the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme and how do you think it will impact private healthcare in South Africa?
We all support the idea that healthcare should be accessible to all, however, a number of issues weren’t addressed in the White Paper. These include what the basket of care will look like and who will provide the care. This is the first phase of a 14-year implementation period and it is likely that the parameters of the NHI will change during its implementation. A specific risk for private healthcare providers relates to the introduction of a one-payer system. I don’t think people are going to be happy to take the money they usually pay into a medical aid and pay it into a centralised state-run system. Given that the UK, with its lower unemployment rate and higher number of taxpayers and health professionals, struggles to deliver the desired level of care via its National Health Service, it is unlikely that that South Africa will have the reserves to roll out a system that will rival private healthcare. How does the South African healthcare system compare internationally?
Africa – private medical care and medical insurance – is equal to the best in the world. Many of our doctors and medical professionals go overseas for training or to attend medical conferences and we have some of the most advanced medical equipment in the world in our private hospitals. Furthermore, in countries like the USA, medical care is far more expensive than it generally is in South Africa. Ideally, representatives of the entire healthcare industry here should get together to discuss challenges and collaborate on viable ways to solve these so that quality healthcare can be made accessible to more people. Increased legislation, particularly legislation relating to prescribed minimum benefits, has meant that medical schemes are under increased pressure though. www.selfmed.co.za
I believe that the private healthcare system in South
WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017