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Concerns raised over newly proposed medical aid rules

The Health Dept published new proposed rules around prescribed minimum benefits medical aids have to pay.

FILE. The Health Department published new proposed regulation around prescribed minimum benefits medical aids have to pay. Picture: Irin News.

JOHANNESBURG - As the Health Department says it's not intending to force people to have to pay for certain treatments that medical aids currently pay in full, patient rights groups say people could actually have to pay in for certain treatments under new proposed regulations.

On Friday, the Health Department published new proposed regulations around the prescribed minimum benefits that medical aids have to pay.

Department director-general Dr Anban Pillay said they're not intending to make patients pay in for these treatments.

"The intention is for medical schemes to set up a benefit structure where they can identify suppliers of service and structure that benefit as such that when the patients go to these suppliers there is no additional out of pocket payment that has to be made."

But Section 27's attorney Umunyana Rugege said that's a step backwards.

"Because the current position provides that certainty and provides that cover, it therefore provides the access to healthcare services, taking that away is actually taking away access that patients currently have."

Medical aids have said they have to make sure they're sustainable.