New medical aid law finalised

The envisaged Medical Aid Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe will be operational before the end of 2017, with the requisite legal processes now almost complete, a senior official has said.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail last week, Secretary for Health and Child Care Brigadier-General (Retired) Dr Gerald Gwinji said the Attorney-General’s Office was finalising the legislation.

He said, “Our target is to have it functional around the last quarter of this year. This is largely because Government is now going through a lot of reforms in terms of legislation. And at the moment, the Attorney-General’s Office is engrossed with other major legislation.

“We have an instrument that we are currently using; all we want is to enhance it. So, we want to be thorough and do a good job. Cabinet approved the principles, and the first draft of the regulations is before the Attorney General’s Office. There will be further consultation afterwards.”

In 2016, Cabinet approved the Authority’s appointment to create harmony between health insurers and healthcare providers who have been bickering over medical tariff reviews for years.

The latest stand-off has seen medical aid societies defy gazetted tariffs and service providers turn away patients.

Last December, the Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe said, “We welcome the establishment of a regulatory authority if it protects the interests of all parties concerned, in particular the interests of medical aid societies and their members. “The proposed Act of Parliament should encourage a business environment that’s conducive for all participants in the healthcare delivery chain. We would like to see the annual licensing of medical aid societies revisited due to the uncertainties that annual registration creates.

“Robust supervisory structures (should be) put in place to ensure all stakeholders are protected and signs of distress are identified at an early stage. With medical aid societies having in recent years experienced an increase in fraudulent activities by both medical aid society members and healthcare providers, the Act must introduce mechanisms to protect medical aid societies from such behaviour.”

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