Rebate drop irks gym goers

05 January 2018 | Health

Fitness centre members are unhappy about the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) decision to cancel gym rebates.

Namfisa late last year announced that medical aid funds were not permitted to offer gym rebates and other wellness programmes as part of their benefits, with effect from 15 December 2017.

The Virgin Active gym operations manager, Brylen Beukes, said the cancellation came as a surprise as they were not consulted prior to its implementation.

Beukes said that since the rebate cancellation came around the festive season when everyone went on holiday, there was no significant indication of retraction as yet by gym members.

“However, I am convinced that some members will quit the gym due to financial constraints,” added Beukes.

Virgin Active member, Gaby Ahrens said the decision to stop the rebate would force people to stop living a healthy lifestyle as they were motivated to go to the gym knowing that the medical aid would refund the expenses.

“I will now be forced to see which gym is cost effective just to continue living the healthy lifestyle I have come to maintain,” she said.

Another gym member, Zocks Nghikundwa said it was unfair towards people who hardly use their medical aid for medical treatment, but rather for the gym.

“The more one is in the gym, the less likely a person is to visit hospitals because of the healthy lifestyle that comes from exercise,” said Nghikundwa. Namibia Health Plan (NHP) finance manager, Joel Handuba said the rebate programme was meant to encourage their clients to live healthily.

“Now with the cancellation, for a client this means a less healthy lifestyle and more medical claims,” he said.

Handuba explained that NHP used to refund members up to 80% for 20 gym sessions, meaning the client would pay N$600 for the gym and get back N$400 from NHP.

Members of NHP, Namibia Medical Care, Nammed Medical Aid, Heritage Health Namibia and Prosperity Health are affected by the cancellation of gym rebates.


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