Dark Days Ahead for Hospital Insurance?

The CEO of Day 1 Health, Richard Blackman, has published a letter following reports in the media that the Treasury was seeking to regulate health insurance.Blackman defends hospital insurance as provided by Day 1 Health, which is linked to insurance house Sanlam, saying that if South Africans cannot buy into hospital plans and take out hospital insurance then access to health care will be seriously limited. 

Blackman said in a media statement:

An important consideration the public should be made aware of is that the enactment of the proposed second draft demarcation regulations will deny millions the right to access healthcare services. Anyone who cannot afford to be on a medical scheme — 85% of the population, or 42.5-million people — will be denied access to insurance for many of the healthcare services that members of medical aids enjoy.day1healthlogoThe insurance industry is legitimately able to offer effective cover for health events at a fraction of the cost of medical schemes to people who would usually never be able to afford expensive medical aid.Other providers, including ourselves, offer suitable benefits for day-to-day care, including illness, accident and dread disease cover for considerably less than the average medical scheme.The argument by medical schemes that they have to be all-serving, accepting and having to pay 100% for any life-threatening condition, otherwise known as prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs) is not entirely truthful. In most instances, the state is the ultimate designated service provider for PMBs, with the unfair consequence that the very poor, who have no access to private resources, end up competing for attention alongside the privileged, who may easily be paying more than R5,000 a month for their medical aid.State healthcare facilities are significantly strained, under-resourced and generally the last place anyone would want to end up in, uncertain whether they will be able to find a bed, let alone sight of a doctor or a nurse.The state, if it passes the proposed demarcation regulations, will not be achieving the progressive realisation of people’s rights to affordable healthcare, but will be taking away the rights of millions of people who have these rights at the moment and who have had them since 1994.Richard BlackmanCEO, DAY1 Health