Private healthcare access through NHI is in the distant future

Full access to NHI is still years away. Image by Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

NHI and private healthcare: You’ll have to wait FOUR years

Access to private healthcare through NHI is not on the cards in the near future. Full implementation will take years.

Private healthcare access through NHI is in the distant future

Full access to NHI is still years away. Image by Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

South Africans without medical aid will have to wait at least another four years before accessing private healthcare through NHI. This is despite president Cyril Ramaphosa’s official signing of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law on Wednesday.

Current status: Phase one

According to health minister Joe Phaahla, the signing of the bill will allow South African citizens access to healthcare services anywhere. However, the government is still in the first phase of implementation of the NHI Act. He said that the NHI would be implemented in two phases between 2024 and 2028. He believes government can roll out the first phase in the next two years.

“We want to say to all South Africans that this is a process. When that is ready, you will be informed. When all basic services are covered, hopefully by 2028 and beyond, those announcements will be made. Please, don’t throw away your medical scheme,” said Phaahla.

What is the current plan?

Phaahla set out a preliminary timeline for the NHI during the signing of the legislation at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The government’s focus between now and 2026 will be establishing the institution that will oversee the NHI.

He said that between 2026 and 2028, the government is planning on intensifying the rollout to all the provinces. “When it comes to the second phase, it must be more intensive conclusion of actual implementation programmes in terms of contracting of services,” said Phaahla.

South Africans will only be able to fully enjoy the benefits of NHI by 2030, according to president Ramaphosa.

To watch president Ramaphosa signing the Bill, click here.

Ramaphosa’s reaction to NHI opposition

According to president Ramaphosa, those who are against the NHI are those who are afraid of equal opportunities for South Africans. A day before he signed the Bill into law, he said that it was the haves who were against the have nots enjoying the same benefits as them, according to Times Live.

“The NHI is one of those focus areas which is going to help poor people. And now the opposition on NHI is coming from well-to-do and rich people. It’s coming from those who have the ability, and this is what often happens, the haves don’t want the have nots to benefit from what they have been having,” said Ramaphosa. “And we are saying through NHI all our people must have equality, there must be a quality of healthcare in our country.”