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NHI and your medical scheme: as clear as mud

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Cape Town - Like death and taxes, there will be no opting out clause for national health insurance (NHI). But Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi's presentation of the revised White Paper on the NHI leaves many questions about the future of medical schemes unanswered.

The NHI's avowed purpose has always been to lay the foundation for universal health coverage for all South Africans, regardless of their ability to pay for medical services. Funding for the NHI should be based on a system of social solidarity, its proponents have been quoted as saying several times.

It is to be a single-payer and single-purchaser fund, in which funds will be pooled and personal health services purchased on behalf of the entire population.

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