National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)

In 2018, Parliament passed the National Health Insurance Act No.2 of 2018 which established the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA). ZFE, ZCTU and a number of other stakeholders, including the opposition political parties, made strong recommendations to either withdraw or improve the Bill, but Parliament passed it largely unchanged. ZFE and ZCTU then made efforts to prevent the operationalization of the Act. In this whole process ZFE was advocating for the Act to provide for both the Public and Private Sector Health Insurance Schemes so that employers who run private health insurance schemes for their employees could be allowed to continue with no additional obligation to making their employees belong to this Public Health Insurance Scheme and meeting additional costs. This is the practice in most countries where such a scheme exists. The Act in its present form does not provide for exemptions to those with private health schemes in place and as such it is a risk to a number of private sector health centres that will not be accredited by the Minister of Health as centres to provide health services to people that will be registered on the scheme. ZFE had also submitted that the Scheme should be managed through the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) in order to avoid spending huge sums of money on both infrastructure development and administrative expenses. This was also meant to make life easier for employers by way of remitting one payment into NAPSA that would include the Health Insurance Scheme amount.  The ZFE efforts in this matter included speaking with the President of the Republic, who encouraged his Minister of Health to speak with stakeholders. None of these efforts came to fruition as in September 2019, the Minister of Health promulgated the NHI Regulations through Statutory Instrument No. 63 of 2019. Given its long and as yet unsuccessful battle against this arbitrary and damaging scheme, ZFE will not engage in sensitizing its members on it. Read more……