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South Africa: National Assembly approves NHI Bill

14 June 2023
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Overview

  • The South African National Health Insurance Bill (Bill), which aims to provide universal access to quality health care services in South Africa, was approved by South Africa’s National Assembly on 13 June 2023.
  • The Bill, if enacted as is, will change how all national residents access health services, which will in turn affect how employers across all sectors structure their wellness offerings.
  • It seems likely that new taxes will need to be introduced, but the details in that regard fall outside the Bill and will still need to be explained by our tax policymakers.

The National Health Insurance Bill (Bill), which aims to provide universal access to quality health care services in South Africa, was approved by South Africa’s National Assembly on 13 June 2023. A copy of the Bill can be accessed here.

So what does this mean?

Parliament has two ‘houses’, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). Now that the Bill has been passed by the National Assembly, the next step is for the Bill to be considered by the NCOP. Should the NCOP approve the Bill, the Bill will be sent to the President for assent (i.e. signature). If the NCOP is not prepared to approve the Bill then various mechanism in the Constitution are triggered to resolve concerns and ultimately to return the Bill, approved by both houses, for the President’s assent.

What does it mean for you?

The Bill, if enacted as is, will have different implications for different people, organisations and sectors. The most obvious implications will be for the health sector (including medical schemes and insurers, pharmaceutical and devices producers, hospitals and health professionals, and private clinics).

It will change how all national residents access health services, which will in turn affect how employers across all sectors structure their wellness offerings.  It seems likely that new taxes will need to be introduced, but the details in that regard fall outside the Bill and will still need to be explained by our tax policymakers.