Today's Labour News

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councilmedicalschemesBusinessLive reports that the number of medical-scheme beneficiaries remained virtually unchanged for the past seven years.  

High unemployment and lack of government intervention are said to be keeping membership out of reach of a steadily increasing slice of the population.  The trend was revealed in the 2017-2018 Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) annual report, tabled in parliament last week.  There were 8.87m medical-scheme beneficiaries in 2017, compared with 8.53m in 2011 while the population grew from 51.55m to 56.84m, according to Stats SA.  “The lack of growth in medical-scheme membership indicates its lack of affordability,” said Wits University professor Alex van den Heever, adding that the declining proportion of the population belonging to medical schemes reflected the poor state of the economy and the government’s failure to take steps to make membership more affordable.  “There is a strong correlation between registered taxpayers and the number of principal members of medical schemes: anyone with a precarious income won’t join.  Government has sat on its hands.  It has done nothing to enhance coverage, nor has it done anything to regulate costs,” Van den Heever stated.  Meanwhile, the CMS once again drew attention to the remuneration of medical-scheme trustees and principal officers, an issue it has flagged as an area of concern for several years.

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