By: Andrew Kathindi
The finance ministry has instructed the Dental Health Care Service Providers to stick to the NAMAF Tariffs of 2014, which are currently in use while reviewing the Public Service Medical Aid Scheme (PSEMAS) tariff.
The Namibia Dental Association (NDA) last month warned the ministry that as of 1 November, its members contracted to PSEMAS would cease offering services to PSEMAS members at the current rate, arguing that dentists spend more on treating PSEMAS members than what they are paid in return at the current rate.
“We wish to encourage Health Care Service Providers to continue offering services to PSEMAS members at the current rate, (NAMAF Tariffs 2014) while the reform process is being concluded upon,” the finance ministry said.
The finance ministry announced that, to this effect, it had appointed Dr Johann Van Zyl to lead a consortium of consultants, to provide actuarial and technical consultancy services.
“In addition, an examination into the tariffs, benefits and contribution structure, and the PSEMAS contract, amongst others, form part of the review.”
According to the ministry, the review of the PSEMAS tariff forms part of ongoing structural reforms of the scheme.
The ministry said it could not pronounce itself on the tariffs increase until the reform process concluded. The consultation team is expected to report back to the ministry at the end of December.
“Dental Health Care Service Providers who at their own accord opt to discontinue offering services to PSEMAS members at the current rate, (NAMAF Tariffs 2014), should comply with Clause 10.6 (Termination) of the PSEMAS Contract (Standard Terms and Conditions),” the ministry said.
According to the clause, the terms and conditions of the contract can only be terminated at the election of either party, provided that the party so wishing to terminate shall advise the other party thereof, in writing, on at least 60 days prior written notice. This includes the ministry’s right to revoke the application of the Health Service Provider that is continuously claiming above the peer’s norm.
Last month, President of the NDA, Dr Maren Thomson, said, “as dental healthcare providers, we cannot continue providing services below cost. We cannot be forced to subsidise the government while exposing ourselves to financial ruin.”
During the Mid-Term Budget Review, which finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi tabled in the national assembly last week, PSEMAS was allocated an additional N$230 million, which consists of N$200 million for funding shortfalls because of increased claims due to the third wave of COVID-19 and N$30 million for subscription fees.