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National Health Act, 2003 (Act No. 61 of 2003)


National Health Insurance Policy towards Universal Health Coverage

Chapter 5 : National Health Insurance Coverage

5.2 Population coverage


97. Population coverage refers to the proportion of the population that has access to needed health services.


98. NHI will increase this proportion by extending coverage to all South Africans irrespective of their socio-economic status, including residents with long-term visas. Priority will be given to the population that is in greatest need, including vulnerable groups, and must include those experiencing the greatest difficulty in obtaining care. The unemployed, vulnerable groups will be prioritised. The identification of the population with the greatest need will be based on criteria consistent with the principles of NHI. Progressively, the population will be defined according to need and coverage will be extended to ensure access to defined and comprehensive health care services.


99. NHI requires that users of the health system should be registered and be identifiable at the point of use. Registration of the population in catchment areas will take into account various factors including personal information, the size of the population in the area, disease profile of a catchment area, facilities and structures, living environment, social and health deprivation and other contextual dynamics. In addition, there will be a need to promote equitable distribution of resources and address the rural-urban divide.


100. Registration will take place at designated health facilities. South Africans, including those in possession of a long-term residence visa will register using the Department of Home Affairs’ identification system. The information on registration will be encrypted and will be utilised to access services at different levels of the health system.


101. Migrants are not a homogenous group and consist of refugees, asylum seekers and irregular migrants and will receive basic health care services in line with the Refugees Act and international conventions that South Africa is a signatory to.