National Health Insurance

The National Health Insurance (NHI) is a health financing system that is designed to pool funds to provide access to quality affordable personal health services for all South Africans based on their health needs, irrespective of their socio-economic status. NHI is intended to ensure that the use of health services does not result in financial hardship for individuals and their families.

NHI seeks to realise universal health coverage for all South Africans. This means that every South African will have a right to access comprehensive healthcare services free of charge at the point of use at accredited health facilities such as clinics, hospitals and private health practitioners. This will be done using an NHI card. The services will be delivered closest to where people live or work.

NHI is being implemented in phases over a 14-year period that started in 2012. It will be established through the creation of a single fund that will buy services on behalf of the entire population, The funding for NHI will be through a combination of various mandatory pre-payment sources, primarily based on general taxes.


  1. The White Paper on National Health Insurance was published for comment on 11 December 2015. 
  2. On 30 June 2017 the National Health Insurance policy document was gazetted after approval by Cabinet.
  3. The National Health Insurance Bill: Draft was published for comment on 21 June 2018.
  4. The National Health Insurance Bill B11-2019 was published on 6 August 2019.
  5. The National Health Insurance Bill B11B-2019 was published on 24 May 2023. On 13 June 2023 the Bill was passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the NCOP for concurrence. On 6 December 2023 the Bill was passed by the NCOP and sent to the President for assent.


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