THE Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZiMA) has said with effect from July 1, 2016, private doctors, hospitals and other health providers will stop accepting medical aid, as they seek to get paid $220 million that they are owed by various health insurance firms.
ZiMA secretary-general, Shingai Bopoto yesterday told NewsDay that all health providers, including hospitals, were owed $220 million and half of the amount was owed by a single medical aid society, which he would not disclose.
“The money has been accumulating for some medical aid societies over the years, while for others it is since the beginning of this year,” he said.
Bopoto said the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority collects tax on income whether a claim is paid or not.
Medical aid societies are not paying claims. Some have gone for three years without paying service providers. This means doctors have to look for funds from elsewhere to pay tax that is due. As a profession, we don’t want to have doctors being prosecuted for not paying tax and at the moment, one way out is doctors can charge cash for all services,” he said.
If doctors opt to demand cash from customers on medical aid, that would cause a lot of inconvenience.
The cost of medical aid cover in the country has been on an upward trend since 2009, amid reports that less than 20% of the population are on health insurance.
Bopoto said the issue of non-payment has been going on for 19 months and has been taken to Parliament, the Competition and Tariffs Commission and the medical aid societies have not changed the way they do business.