Medical aid broker blow

Amendment bill ban plan shocks PE health scheme agents

Port Elizabeth medical aid brokers were rattled after Health Minster Aaron Motsoaledi announced some of the finer details in the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill yesterday.
One of the amendments proposed is that medical aid brokers be abolished.
The amendment bill will set in motion the government’s plans to introduce universal healthcare in the country.
Motsoaledi‚ speaking in Pretoria‚ released details of the amendment bill‚ which aims to completely change the way medical aids work.
“Are brokers really necessary? Almost two-thirds of people paying a medical aid premium pay a monthly sum to a broker,” Motsoaledi said.
“Many members do not even know they are paying this money every month‚ which by now is about R90 per month for each member. “[It] must be abolished.”
The amendment bill is not yet law and will be gazetted at 1pm today. Thereafter‚ it will be open for public comment for three months.
Port Elizabeth-based Northbound Financial Services medical aid broker Tanya Grobler was quick to defend the use of medical aid brokers.
“The money we charge is not exorbitant,” she said.
“It’s a small fee for the broker’s knowledge.
“Medical aid schemes in general are too complicated for the man on the street to understand. I think the minister does not really know what he’s talking about.”
Grobler said the R90 referred to by Motsoaledi was the maximum amount.
“Some people pay R25, some R35 a month,” she said.Circular Health practice manager Brandon Mercer said: “The reality is brokers are there for the benefit of the patients.
“The minister’s proposal does not make sense because the brokers are paid a small fee for their knowledge, which they impart to the clients. It’s a shame, really.”
Motsoaledi yesterday also gave the National Health Insurance Bill the green light.
It has been published in the government gazette, paving the way for the health department to set up an NHI fund to purchase healthcare services on behalf of the population.

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