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Back 22 May, 2024 - Medihelp

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Open letter to members about NHI

Open letter to members about NHI

We would like to share the answers to the most frequent questions we’ve been receiving from our members.
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Dear member

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law on Wednesday, 15 May, as widely reported in the media.

With many individuals and organisations joining the current debate and publishing their diverse opinions, we understand that you may have questions. We would like to share the answers to the most frequent questions we’ve been receiving from our members.

What are the next steps?

Even though the president signed the Act, it has not been made operative. The president must bring the Act, or sections thereof, into operation by proclamation. This has not been done and there is currently no indication of when and how this will happen.

Is Medihelp in agreement with the NHI?

Medihelp agrees that access to healthcare for all South Africans is a basic human right. However, we are of the view that, for various reasons, the NHI Act is not viable in its current form, nor is it affordable to the state purse.

Medihelp views access to private health insurance and private healthcare as a constitutional right and maintains that members should have the freedom to decide which healthcare options best meet their individual requirements. In our view, the choice between private health insurance and the NHI is not contradictory, but rather as alternatives that uphold the constitutional rights of individuals.

What will happen to my medical aid now?

At Medihelp, it is business as usual and nothing changes! We will continue to work tirelessly at our goal to be the medical aid of choice for all South Africans. You can be assured of the same quality healthcare cover and excellent service that Medihelp’s members have enjoyed for the past 119 years.

It is important to remember that the NHI is not a single event, but a complex initiative that will take a long time to implement due to the many reforms it requires in various government sectors.

Should I cancel my medical aid membership?

No. You will need to keep your membership to ensure your continued access to quality private healthcare.

Will the NHI take Medihelp’s reserves?

The NHI has no access to our accumulated reserves, as the reserves belong to you, the member, and not to Medihelp. Our legal advice confirms your funds are safe and cannot be appropriated by the state.

Does Medihelp protect the rights of investors above those of members?

Medihelp is a self-administered medical scheme that belongs to its members. The Scheme is not listed on the stock exchange, doesn’t have any investors, and doesn’t pay dividends. You, our members, are our only priority. We use your contributions to pay for your private healthcare in terms of the registered Rules of Medihelp and the Medical Schemes Act 131 of 1998.

Will Medihelp go to court to fight the NHI?

Medihelp will monitor the implementation of the Act and has reputable and experienced legal counsel. We will always act in the best interests of our members. The Scheme also supports the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) and the actions taken by the BHF to oppose NHI initiatives that infringe on our members’ rights.

Following discussions with key industry stakeholders, we are evaluating our options in approaching this as a collective. These discussions will inform our next steps and we will keep you updated on any decisions. We are of the view that instituting legal action in our own name is not a prudent use of your contributions and will have a detrimental effect on the funds available for claims. We may, however, make resources available to strategically selected initiatives to ensure the protection of our members. 

You remain our highest priority and we will continue to protect your access to quality healthcare. If you have any further questions, you are welcome to email them to socialmedia@medihelp.co.za.

Kind regards 

Varsha Vala

Principal Officer


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