EDITORIAL | If ever medaids needed to have a heart, it’s now
Medical schemes council refuses to unbandage coffers and allow payment holidays in wake of Covid-19
A hard-hitting report by the Competition Commission last year stopped short of accusing the private health-care industry of exploiting clients, while offering little value for money.
It found consumers were at the receiving end of high costs in private health-care and medical-scheme cover, while there was no evidence that these fees resulted in better health benefits. Consumers were disempowered and uninformed, and practitioners were subjected to little regulation and accountability.
Former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, who headed the five-member panel‚ commented that it took more than 18 months to get information from private hospital groups‚ doctors‚ medical aid schemes and administrators to conduct the inquiry. Ngcobo said medical aid rules were confusing and obtuse, discouraging consumers from shopping around. “Unlike other consumer goods‚ such as a phone or car‚ in which a buyer makes a decision based on its price and quality‚ people get health care blindly. They don’t know what they are getting.”..