NHI will be signed into law but what does this mean for me? We answer your FAQs around the new bill

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Wednesday sign the NHI Bill into law. Picture: Reuters/Edgar Su

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Wednesday sign the NHI Bill into law. Picture: Reuters/Edgar Su

Published May 15, 2024

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This week, President Cyril Ramaphosa will officially sign the controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law.

The Presidency said the bill, which directs the transformation of the South Africa’s health care system to achieve universal coverage for health services, will signed at the Union Buildings at 2pm on Wednesday.

Much has been said in favour for and against the NHI Bill. However, there are still some who are unsure how the Bill impacts them.

Let's look at some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and help you understand what the NHI Bill is all about.

What is the NHI Bill?

According to the Health Systems Trust, NHI is a health financing or funding system that is designed to pool funds together so that health services are available for all South Africans, regardless of their financial status.

Who will fund the NHI?

Taxpayers. National Treasury will determine the sources of funding for NHI and be approved by Cabinet. Treasury will also determine when any dedicated NHI contributions are introduced or changed in line with the fiscal and economic environment.

Who will be covered under the NHI Fund?

South African citizens, permanent residents, refugees, inmates and specific categories of foreign nationals. The fund will also cover asylum seekers and illegal foreigners will be covered for notifiable conditions and emergency medical services.

All children will be covered for all benefits purchased by the fund regardless of nationality.

Visiting foreign nationals will be covered by their mandatory travel insurance. Unemployed people will also be covered.

What does this mean for costs at clinics, doctors or hospitals?

To make sure everyone has access to healthcare at a facility close to them, anyone will be able to access health without paying.

What happens to the private healthcare system?

The NHI will not destroy the private sector. The private sector has different role players, and they are: 1. health care providers (like GPs, specialists, pharmacies and hospitals); 2. suppliers of goods (heath products like medicines, devices and diagnostic devices); 3. funders (medical schemes) and 4. administrators. They have different roles to play in the NHI.

How do I register for NHI?

Register for free with the NHI Fund when you visit a clinic, GP, or hospital that has a contract with the NHI for the first time.

You will not need to register again when you go to any other clinic, GP or hospital because the NHI system will make sure that your records are available at every contracted health care provider.

You will need your ID book, passport, or other identity document to register. Your fingerprints will be taken and put on the NHI Fund system. This will make it easy when you visit the clinic, GP or hospital again, or when your ID is lost.

Each time you attend a clinic, GP or hospital you will need to present your proof of identity. If you are unconscious, then the provider can still find your records using your fingerprints.

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