Health Department wants a register of all medical aid contributors

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Health Department wants a register of all medical aid contributors

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\n Katharine Child | 2017-01-24 07:32:30.0\n \n \n \n \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n \n\n \n\n\n \n \n

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\n \n \n The Times has seen the presentation, which explains the data would help the government bill medical aid members who currently use state hospitals and clinics free of charge.\nFile photo \n \n \n \n \n
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock\n \n \n \n

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\n The Department of Health has asked medical aid schemes to pass on the names and addresses of all their members for use in a central government database.\n

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But DA spokesman Wilmot James said this request was a breach of the constitutional right to privacy, in addition to the fact that the government had no right to members’ personal information.

The Council for Medical Schemes, which regulates medical aid schemes, made a presentation in July last year explaining to companies why it wanted the data.

The Times has seen the presentation, which explains the data would help the government bill medical aid members who currently use state hospitals and clinics free of charge.

The department also wants a list of every patient in the country to be held on a central database as part of the state’s National Health Insurance, according to the presentation.

The department also wants information on what medical aid option each person is on and on the relationship between main members and beneficiaries.

James said: “The state has no right to our personal information and the Council for Medical Schemes has no business in providing it. It cannot be that the government asks a national institution to break our own laws.”

The DA said it knew some medical aid schemes had refused to provide the information.

Werksmans attorney Neil Kirby said the request contradicted the Medical Schemes Act.

“Section 60(2) of the Medical Schemes Act 1998 prohibits any person from disclosing information about the affairs of a medical scheme unless it is done in terms of his or her duties in terms of the act or as a witness before a court,” Kirby said.

Department spokesman Joe Maila said: “The registry is not to collect personal or private information as the DA claims, but to ensure that the public sector is able to identify medical scheme members so that their scheme can be billed for services rendered in the public sector.”

He said information such as which options members chose and the ages and geographic distribution of members was solely to be used for research.

“We are aware that some schemes do not want this information to be available. They have a lot to hide,” he said.

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