Category Risk Management

Embracing Risk Management: Transforming Threats into Opportunities in the Era of National Health Insurance

19 June 2023 Volker von Widdern, Strategic Risk Principal at Riskonet Africa

The proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) bill has rightly raised concerns among users of private medical services.

With restrictions on funding from medical aids for services covered under the NHI, individuals may fear limited access to the care they desire.

However, this perceived threat can be reframed as an opportunity for individuals to take control of their own healthcare and embrace risk management.

By envisioning a future scenario where alternative funding models replace traditional medical aids, we can unlock a world of possibilities for personalised and efficient healthcare financing.

Under the NHI, private users will still have the freedom to access the medical services they require, albeit without insurance or funding-related compensation.

This presents a strategic opportunity to explore new avenues of healthcare financing that are not reliant on medical aids. Rather than being at the mercy of rigid insurance structures, individuals can leverage private savings vehicles to create personalised funding models for their healthcare needs.

In the transitional period as the NHI takes years to become fully established, individuals might form medical stockvels—medically focused savings groups—that cater to their specific requirements. These stokvels do not provide underwritten products, I.e they don't take risk."

These stockvels could be created based on common profiles, such as geographical proximity or employment within the same organization. By pooling resources, members of these stockvels can establish their own medical savings schemes, fostering a sense of community and shared responsibility.

Medical stockvels would have the flexibility to contract with various service providers to administer and track medical costs on behalf of each member. This collaborative approach ensures that individual healthcare needs are met efficiently. With collective bargaining power, stockvels can negotiate favourable rates and secure high-quality care for their members. Additionally, the existing providers of credit that finance emergency medical costs can be tapped into, further enhancing the stockvels' capacity to meet unforeseen medical expenses.

To complement the stockvels' efforts, individuals could explore the option of top-up policies. These additional insurance policies would provide comprehensive coverage beyond the scope of the stockvels' funding, ensuring peace of mind during unexpected medical circumstances. The combination of stockvels and top-up policies creates a robust ecosystem of healthcare financing that adapts to the unique needs and preferences of individuals.

The adoption of the NHI bill in parliament may have initially sparked concerns among users of private medical services. However, this perceived threat can be turned into an opportunity for individuals to redefine healthcare financing and take control of their own medical savings.

By embracing risk management and envisioning a future where medical stockvels and alternative funding models thrive, individuals can create a healthcare system that prioritizes personalized care and financial autonomy.

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