The government has made it quite clear: the NHI will be fully implemented by 2026. Have you began to panic or is this still sinking in? No matter who or where you are, start dreading the reality of sitting in a queue for endless hours in a government hospital. Medical aid as you know it could change forever. One thing is for sure, as medical schemes continue to become unaffordable while consuming a large portion of an individual’s salary,  for the majority of members NHI will be a social nightmare.

What is the answer to the future of healthcare? Your health and that of your family and employees? A simple answer is that everyone needs to take responsibility for their own health and if this is the weird stick that makes it happen, something good could come from the NHI intention. 

The private sector is foreseeing disaster should this go through as the government is planning. Can you imagine if not you, your wife, husband, daughter or son and even worse, your aged mom or dad waiting in a government hospital ward for care, or some sort thereof.

Companies will need to take look further than a tick-box employee assistance programme and educate their staff how to be well. We could ask 100 people on any day and everyone will provide a different answer with no true reflection of what being well means and how this would control their medical spend. 

If you don’t realize this as a highly probable major risk, you may end up in a ward that looks like most people’s servant’s quarters, and there is the fear that a trainee from “somewhere in Africa” may be your doctor. This is the genuine fear we will face as we navigate the health delivery system. What should be done, is what should have been done many years ago, all need to take care of themselves.

Taking care of ourselves is generic to discussions. The generic knowledge is; exercise, manage stress and eat healthy (if we know to eat healthy why is colon cancer the fastest growing cancer or heart disease the number one cause of death in many countries?) 

You will have to rethink how physical well-being is promoted because not everyone has the motivation or ability to exercise correctly or achieve the results required to improve their health. There are numerous factors to being well and the organization advisor will need to work within the constraints of the environment. 

Do you remember what we shared previously where it was stated that The World Health Organization says that 70% of all cancers are easily preventable through dietary and lifestyle changes. The same could apply to heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. How opposite to what the insurance and medical fraternity tell us.

If your organization seek the guidance and insights to achieving this goal of being healthy over the next one to two years and be in a position to take full control of your own health costs, we wish to encourage that it is very possible, and the costs to do so can mostly be drawn from the monies already in the system of the medical insurers. 

Amongst a few key steps, the first step is to make sure you are not paying for members who through their own health neglect are pushing up the costs in chronic illness and hospital accounts of the medical scheme for which you end up paying. 

A second step is to embark upon a strategy to being well yourself and having all members in the organisation educated and enlightened to what can be achieved.

One major important lesson thing I have learnt over 40 years of being in healthcare and looking after my own health is – being well is complex, however there are basic elements we are need to learn and practice. These basics form the foundation to protecting each one of us from disease, illness and those hospital events that could be prevented.

At this time of the year certain medical schemes allow an organisation to switch to more appropriate options without the waiting periods. These concessions allow the organisation access to move freely. Important to note is the concession ends before the end of September 2019 and various criteria must be adhered too. Find the criteria here.

Where the organisation is on a reputable medical scheme with all the bells and whistles, you may still find a better suited option if you believe the message to take control of your health, reduce the costs and move away from cross-subsidising other sickly members or companies. You welcome to engage with us as we consider whether your organisation could be assisted with a cost containment strategy we believe is possible.

Peter Šmanjak

Owner and Founder at Infinite Risk

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