The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) and industry representative bodies, the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF), the Health Funders Association (HFA) and non-affiliated medical schemes (the Funders Working Group), are collaborating to support efforts to provide broader health coverage by effective management of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They said in a joint statement that the Funders Working Group assured members unequivocally that their medical scheme contributions were safe and would be used for their benefit in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The funds of medical schemes are safeguarded by the Medical Schemes Act, which empowers trustees – who govern medical schemes – to act in the best interests of its members.
The CMS is coordinating this public-private sector collaboration to ensure universal access to the vaccine in line with the country’s priorities and individual health needs and therefore, the working group is providing input to the national Department of Health’s vaccine access framework, the group said.
The input includes regulatory concerns, logistics of distribution and administration, clinical protocols and guidelines, information and record-keeping, funding options and the central coordination and leadership function.
According to the statement, the funding industry is in close talks with the CMS to ensure scheme sustainability, aimed at achieving the 67% herd immunity of the population to stabilise the country and get the economy going.
As the Covid-19 vaccine is a prescribed minimum benefit (PMB), it will be paid for by schemes from risk, according to national guidelines.