Up to 6-million low-income workers could afford basic private healthcare services and reduce pressure on the public sector if medical schemes could offer low-cost options, says medical scheme administrator Momentum Health Solutions.

The Medical Schemes Act requires medical schemes to cover an extensive set of conditions known as the prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs), which make membership unaffordable for millions of low-income workers. Since 2015, industry regulator the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has been working on a regulatory framework to exempt schemes from these provisions and allow them to offer cheap, pared-down benefit options, but it has yet to be finalised...

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