No more gym rebates

21 December 2017 | Health

The Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) this week announced that medical aid funds would no longer be allowed to offer gym rebates or other “wellness” benefits to their members.

Namfisa spokesperson Victoria Muranda said the registrar of medical aid funds had issued a directive stating that gym rebates and wellness programmes were in contravention of section 1 of the Medical Aid Fund Act.

Wellness benefits include rebates on gym membership, quit-smoking programmes, walking clubs, boot-camp fitness training and cooking classes.

Funds were directed to comply with the directive by 31 December 2017.

Muranda said although Namfisa acknowledged the health benefits of an active lifestyle, it was compelled by law to rectify any malpractice that is in contravention of the applicable laws.

Meanwhile, the Namibian Association of Medical Aid Funds (Namaf) is trying to get Namfisa to rescind the decision to cancel gym rebates.

Namaf CEO Stephan Tjiuoro said there was compiling evidence to revise the clause in the Medical Aid Fund Act that does not support gym and wellness rebates.

“The position that Namfisa has taken is a legal position, thus we will have to find a way to amend the legislation provision and get them to change that if there is evidence supporting the continuation of rebates,” Tjiuoro said. He added that once the report was finalised, Namaf would engage Namfisa in search of an amicable solution.

“It is not like we are going to tackle one another as it is in a boxing match. We just need to look at how best to approach that,” he told Windhoek Observer.

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