Tawanda Musarurwa Senior Business Reporter
Medical aid societies under the banner of the Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) have agreed to up the fees payable to healthcare service providers with effect from today (Monday 11 February 2019).
This comes as private healthcare service providers last year moved to start charging their patients in United States dollars.
However, the increases, AHFoZ said, only apply to Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) transactions.
According to a statement by AHFoZ, payments to hospitals have been increased by 30 percent.
And those paid to all other service providers, including doctors and dentists, have been increased by 40 percent.
“AHFoZ is still exploring sustainable strategies to cater for service provider groups who require foreign currency for their day-to-day operations,” read part of the statement.
The association said a 100 percent increase would have been “unsustainable”.
“As such the increase is conservative in relation to some of the fees being charged.
“An increase that would cover 100 percent of the fees being charged would be both unaffordable and unsustainable,” the statement said.
Over the last couple of years, the majority of pharmacies in the country have been refusing to issue drugs to patients on medical insurance, insisting on cash payments.
And in October last year, some private doctors began turning away patients on medical aid.
According to a circular minute from the National Physicians Association of Zimbabwe at the time, the physicians resolved in a general meeting to begin charging patients in foreign currency or at the daily prevailing exchange rate.
Zimbabwe uses a multi-currency system that is largely based on the United States dollar, but foreign currency shortages have given rise to a parallel foreign currency market.
The AHFoZ has thanked healthcare services that have continued to accept medical aid.
“AHFoZ wishes to thank all service providers who are accepting the medical aid card and not charging patients United States dollars cash or any deterrent shortfall.”