The Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has announced sweeping changes to the Medical Schemes Act. Picture: Jacques Naude

Johannesburg - The Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has announced sweeping changes to the Medical Schemes Act which are aimed at aligning the Act with the introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI).

According to the minister, the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill aims to introduce amendments to the act that are necessary as the implementation of the NHI will not be a once-off process but will take time.

The Medical Schemes Amendment Bill will introduce some of the following changes: 

Abolishing the rule of co-payments. A co-payment results in a patient paying half of the medical bill while the medical scheme pays the other half. Motsoaledi said patients should not be burdened with the need to pay out of their own pocket and medical aid schemes will be required to settle the bills in full.

* Abolishing the practice of labour brokers within the medical scheme environment.

* Abolishing the practise of “prescribed minimum benefits” and replace it with a comprehensive benefits package. This will allow medical aid clients to get better value for money from their service provider.

Other changes include the introduction of a system subsidisation model, changes to the cancellation of membership and waiting period and also an end to unequal benefit options offered by medical aid scheme providers.

Political Bureau