The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has granted insurers that offer cheap primary healthcare cover a last-minute reprieve from the requirements of the Medical Schemes Act, giving them another year to continue selling their products after their exemption expired on March 31.

Estimates vary, but industry sources say up to 1.5-million people are members of primary healthcare products that provide cover for basic private healthcare services such as GP consultations. Most beneficiaries are low-income workers, who cannot afford the premiums charged by medical schemes offering more extensive cover...

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