MEDICAL insurance firm, CIMAS, has insisted it is “safe and sound”, dismissing reports the company was near collapse.
This follows a directive from the Ministry of Health and Child Care to increase the maximum tariffs for doctors and other health service providers by up to 75%, a move that has left health insurance firms on the brink of collapse with at least four struggling to pay the new charges.
Cimas said it was difficult to understand how such increases could be justified in a low inflation environment, with a non-performing economy and serious liquidity challenges.
“Cimas is fully aware of the reality that in current economic environment, the majority cannot afford an increase in membership contribution” the company said in a recent Statement.
“It is therefore faced with the alternatives of either increasing membership contributions which it believes would cause considerable financial hardship to the majority of its members or defying the directive of the ministry with the risk that its licence which expires at the end of March next year may not be renewed.”
The company the health ministry was using bullying tactics by seeking to compel medical aid societies into paying service providers at the new tariff rates by threatening not to renew their licences if they cannot prove that they are paying them the newly gazetted rates.
The health minister, his deputy and top officials have also been accused of conflict of interest in the case as they are thought to beneficiaries of the tariff hike.
The minister, Dr David Parerinyatwa, his deputy Paul Chimedza and Permanent Secretary Brigadier General Dr Gerald Gwinji are reportedly operate as general practitioners.
However Chimedza said “everyone in the healthcare sector has conflict of interest”.
“As doctors, if we neglect our duties who will do the job then? We hardly practice anyway because of ministry commitments.”
He accused Cimas of lying that they not viable claiming the company was busy buying hospitals and surgeries using public funds.
Cimas said it would continue to engage representatives of the doctors, hospitals as well as ministry and other stakeholders and is hopeful that there will be an appreciation that it is not viable to require medical aid societies to pay the new tariffs.Advertisement
The company said its immediate future was not under threat as it can go for three years using funds from its reserves although this would be in contravention of government regulations.
Medical insurance firms are legally required to maintain reserve funds that represent at least 25% of total contributions received.