Insurance and Pensions Commission’s (Ipec) commissioner Tendai Karonga last week Friday told Newsday that discussions are now underway in Cabinet and the president’s office to have the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and medical aid societies fall under its
“NSSA, medical aid societies and other insurance matters can be regulated once the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) and Cabinet approve. They are considering it now. NSSA is a pension fund and medical aid is simply medical insurance, so it should be regulated by the insurance regulator and that is the basic argument,” said the commissioner.
The Insurance and Pension’s Commission has made case to Government for medical aid societies to be placed under its regulatory purview to improve governance and protect policyholders’ funds.
This comes after thousands of policy holders have been struggling to get medical services on fully paid up schemes due to the high prevalence of corporate governance malpractices including corruption, misappropriation of funds and revenue leakages.
IPEC commissioner Tendai Karonga said the regulator was negotiating with industry players and Government to develop a framework to regulate NSSA and the medical aid insurance industry whose estimated value is around $340,2 million.
“There are other issues that get raised by people and mostly these are complaints against medical aid societies or NSSA, but the basic issue is that it (NSSA) is a pension fund and pension funds are regulated by Ipec.”
Karonga said he could not give the timeframe when NSSA and medical aid societies would be under Ipec’s purview.
“ . . . they (the Cabinet) will determine the urgency of the matter and I can’t. All I can tell you is that these are matters that they are considering,” he said.
Debate over the regulation of the medical aid industry has been raging since the Ministry of Health and Child Care tabled a motion before Parliament seeking to set up a regulatory body, which would operate under the ministry and be regulated by it.
Mr Karonga is on record saying that IPEC was a statutory body set up to regulate the insurance industry in Zimbabwe and by law should regulate medical insurers, as it was not different from all the other insurance businesses being regulated under the commission.
Regulation of the medical aid insurance has sparked a lot of debate in recent years as disputes in the industry have remained unresolved due to lack of effective regulation.
A case in point is that of Cimas and Corporate 24 where the former argued that its customers should pay cash upfront when getting treatment at the medical facility. By law, subscribers holding valid medical aid cards are not supposed to pay cash as it defeats the whole purpose of medical aid insurance.