‘Nothing sinister’ in state request for medical scheme members’ particulars
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi insists there is nothing sinister in asking medical schemes for members’ particular, and the department knows some schemes do not want this information to be available as they have much to hide.
He was responding on Monday night to DA claims that requests for the information from medical schemes were an unlawful breach of privacy.
The Department of Health asked medical schemes for names and addresses of all members for use in a central government database.
DA health spokesman Wilmot James said: "The state has no right to our personal information and the Council for Medical Schemes has no business providing it. It cannot be that national government asks a national institution to break our own laws."
The department said the registry would not collect personal or private information‚ as the DA claimed. The idea was to ensure the public sector could identify medical scheme members so their schemes could be billed for services provided by the public sector.
A summary of information was wanted, not individual personal or private information.
"Personal medical information of individual members will not be made available. This information is critical for planning so that we appreciate which options members are choosing‚ what is the disease burden in the option‚ age profile‚ geographic distribution‚ etc. It is not solely for research purposes as the DA claims‚" said department spokesman Joe Maile.
Some medical schemes had contracts with the public sector for their members to access services. However‚ their members failed to identify themselves or provide accurate information on their schemes so their scheme could be billed.
"Consequently a number of medical scheme members are accessing services in the public sector for free whereas they are being billed for these services in the private sector‚" said Maile.