THE Association of Health Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) has disputed claims medical aid associations owe private doctors and health institutions over $220 million dating back to three years ago.
BY VICTORIA MTOMBA
AHFoZ’s was reacting to threats by the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZiMA) that its members would stop serving patients on medical aid from July 1 due to the dispute over the debt.
Sources claimed 50% of the debt was owed by the struggling publicly owned Premier Service Aid Society (PSMAS).
AFHoZ members are expected to settle the doctors’ claim within 60 working days, but ZiMA says most of them were not complying with the rules yet doctors and private health institutions were being pressured to pay tax before the payments.
AFHoZ chief executive officer Shylet Sanyanga said the claims that some medical aid societies had gone for three years without paying service providers needed to be verified.
“Medical aid societies are paying and it’s unusual for them to go for three years without paying the doctors. We want [ZiMA] them to provide proof of what they are talking about,” Sanyanga said.
She said the association got to know about the $220 million figure through media reports.
“ZiMa was asked to clarify this position and they have indicated that they are willing to discuss the issue with AHFoZ at a meeting to be scheduled soon,” Sanyanga said.
“AHFoZ will give the engagement process a chance since ZiMa is willing to engage.”
ZiMa secretary general Shingai Bopoto confirmed that a meeting would be held with AHFoZ soon to address the impasse.
“We have not met yet. We will have a meeting, no date has been set but it will be before the deadline,” Bopoto said.
“The bulk of the doctors’ income comes from medical aid societies.
“Medical aid members have been on a decline significantly and at the moment, it’s around 1,2 million down from three million members.
“The issue of non-payments is also compounding the issue.”
Bopoto said the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority was tracking doctors throughout the country over non-payment of tax on claims that were yet to be paid by AFHoZ members.
He said the July 1 deadline was set to give the medical aid societies time to address the non-payment issue.
Most people in Zimbabwe cannot afford medical cover, with less than 20% of the population having access to health insurance, because of the high rate of unemployment in the country.