South Africa’s National Health Insurance Bill Signed

South Africa’s National Health Insurance BillSouth Africa’s National Health Insurance Bill  (NHI) was signed by the President on May 15, 2024. The bill holds great promise for enhancing healthcare access and outcomes across the nation and aims to guarantee that every South African has the right to comprehensive healthcare services, free at the point of use.

Taxpayers will fund the NHI, with the National Treasury determining funding sources with the ultimate goal of ensuring affordability and efficient resource utilization. However, it faces challenges, including funding issues, administrative complexities, and resistance from private healthcare sectors.

Two of the largest open medical schemes in South Africa, Discovery Health Medical Scheme, and Momentum Metropolitan, have voiced their criticism and insights on the signing of the NHI bill. You can watch Momentum Metropolitan Health’s reaction to the medical aid sector’s criticism of the signing into law of the NHI Act or read News24’s article interviewing Adrian Gore, Discovery’s CEO, saying the flawed NHI will be delayed for decades.

It is important to note that your current South African medical scheme cover, and benefits will not change or be influenced by this development. Section 33 of the NHI Act states that medical schemes can only offer services not provided by NHI once it is fully implemented. However, the full implementation is expected to take at least a decade due to the complexity and scale of the required reforms. Even after NHI is fully implemented, medical schemes will still provide cover for services not included in the NHI package. Given the financial constraints and limited tax base, NHI is unlikely to cover all healthcare needs, ensuring a continued role for medical schemes.

We understand the NHI Act may cause concern, but please be assured that significant changes to your medical scheme cover are not imminent.

Watch Tennant’s video that summarizes the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill and its features here. You can read more about the signing of the NHI bill here or watch the broadcast signing of the bill here.


Tennant provided this article on the signing of South Africa’s National Health Insurance bill. If you need support with your employee benefits in South Africa, please contact Asinta, and we will put you in touch with the local experts at Tennant.