An investigation of the optimal funding strategies for South Africa's National Health insurance .

Rugnath, Sunira
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that countries need to find a way to provide healthcare that is not only of a high quality, but that also does not lead to financial difficulties for its citizens. The move to Universal Health Care(UHC) is advocated for member states around the world and is part of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. South Africa’s leading political party announced in 2007 that to pursue health for all, South Africa will implement a form of UHC termed the National Health Insurance. The objective of this research was to explore the funding models available to the South African government for a universal health care system and therein ascertain which model will be the optimal funding choice for South Africa. The study focused on the funding of NHI only and not on other factors influencing its success. As such the research question posed was: What funding mechanisms will be optimal for South Africa's National Health Insurance? The data for this report was obtained using the qualitative method. Specifically using semi-structured interviews. The 10 respondents used came from 3 groups of interest and are racially diverse. The 3 categories of interest to the researcher were: 1) doctors involved in the current implementation, 2) health economists with a deep technical understanding and 3) Experts from the department of health that are involved in the development of NHI. The findings tell us that a two-tier approach is slightly favoured but it is of greater importance that South Africa’s funding mechanism is as progressive as possible and should aim to bring more balance to the current inequalities of the country. The results do indicate that the single-payer system is not supported in its current state and perhaps a more thorough layout of the funding mechanisms and the reasons behind the choices are required by the Government. The outcome of this research is to assist the South African government in its rollout of the NHI programme. In the 2017 budget speech, the South Africa’s finance minister has stated that the NHI fund will be set up shortly and that government will liaise with stakeholders to define the funding mechanisms further (Gordhan, 2017). It is the researchers hope that the research conducted in this paper will help find the most progressive method of funding South Africa’s universal coverage
MBA Thesis
Health insurance -- South Africa -- Finance