Financial services company KHUSA Consulting has called for the release of billions of rands from medical schemes’ emergency reserves to help treat Covid-19 patients in South Africa. Picture: Pixabay
Financial services company KHUSA Consulting has called for the release of billions of rands from medical schemes’ emergency reserves to help treat Covid-19 patients in South Africa. Picture: Pixabay

Calls for billions to be released from medical schemes’ emergency reserves to fight coronavirus

By Edward West Time of article published Apr 3, 2020

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CAPE TOWN -  Financial services company KHUSA Consulting has called for the release of billions of rands from medical schemes’ emergency reserves to help treat Covid-19 patients in South Africa.

KHUSA Consulting executive director Adrian Parsons said that, by law, medical schemes had emergency fund reserves amounting to at least 25 percent of members’ contributions. 

Collectively, more than R60 billion is held in the reserve funds, which could be released for the treatment of South African Covid-19 patients – whether they are medical scheme members or not.

He said  “legislatively”, this money belonged to medical scheme members, but these were extraordinary times and it might be argued it was in members’ best interests to contribute to a safe, healthy environment and the rebuilding of the South African economy.

The Council for Medical Schemes, a statutory body that regulates medical schemes, did not respond to media questions at the time of going to press yesterday (Thursday).

“It is KHUSA Consulting’s strong view that a large portion of this money should be allocated to the provision of hospital resources for hundreds of thousands of people that will need life support in the very near future. Unfortunately, it’s not enough. But it’s a good start,” he said.

“We haven’t yet seen a model forecasting how many ICU and hospital beds may be required to combat the pandemic within South Africa. Using international models, however, one might expect an absolute minimum of 550 000 hospital beds and 130 000 ICU beds – all with the necessary personnel and equipment.  We currently have nowhere near the required resources,” he said.


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