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News: What the Supreme Court of Appeals judgment means for gun owners.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in July overruled an interdict preventing police from demanding that all gun owners, whose licences expired, surrender their firearms to the state.

This means that 436 366 gun owners, whose licences expired, have been stripped from the protection they had from being pursued by the SA Police Service, News24 reported.

There are 1.7 million licensed firearm owners, who have firearms for self-defence and their licences have not expired.

Gun Owners of SA (GOSA) told news24 “the judgment – while scathing – is not the end of the road”, but did not indicate how it plans to challenge the ruling.

“Our legal team will report soon with an analysis of the judgment and our proposed route forward for expired licence holders,” GOSA said in a statement.

What does the ruling by the SCA mean for gun owners?

Nortje said the order effectively means that a firearm licence comes to an end on the last day of its validity in terms of the Firearms Act.

A new firearms amnesty is on the cards for the period between 1 August and 31 January 2021. Gun owners should [therefore] be encouraged by GOSA to hand in any unlicensed firearms,” Nortje said.

Nortje said although the right to defend yourself, others and your property is important, one must remember that gun ownership is not a fundamental human right under our Constitution, but should rather be viewed as a privilege in accordance with the Firearms Act.

“It is therefore important for gun owners to be in possession of a valid firearms licence.”

It is understandable that many gun owners, who possess illegal firearms, are hesitant to return their firearms and feel that they might be a victim of future crime, he said.

“However, it is recommended that they return their unlicensed firearms to SAPS.

“It is also important for SAPS to win back the trust of the society, establish a dedicated programme dealing with the return of unlicensed firearms and properly serve and protect its people.”

Maphosa said the ruling means that gun owners whose licences expired will be required to surrender their firearms and the SAPS has the statutory authority to demand this.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Covid-19 News: What you need to know about your medical cover.

With lockdown easing, people are heading back to work and school which means a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections is inevitable.

More people are going to need to test for the virus as the rate of infection increases.

It is therefore important to understand exactly how medical schemes will cover COVID-19 testing, hospitalisation and treatment in order to avoid unexpected medical expense shortfalls.

Couple this with many people experiencing financial hardships during this time and one must also try and stretch the benefits that their medical scheme has to offer.

So, what should people be looking out for?

COVID-19 testing is a Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB)

  • The Council for Medical Schemes has mandated medical aids to consider COVID-19 testing a Prescribed Minimum Benefit.
  • All registered medical schemes in South Africa need to provide PMBs on all plans offered to members, regardless of plan type.

What is COVID-19 and what is covered by PMB?

  • The condition “COVID-19” is defined as “an acute respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus”; and annexure A of the Medical Schemes Act (which lists PMBs)has been amended by the Minister of Health to include this new respiratory illness.
  • Along with these 270 conditions that the medical schemes are obliged to fund from the risk-benefit, they are able to curb their risk by requiring members to utilise Designated Service Providers (DSPs) only.
  • By using providers in the medical scheme’s network, members can rest assured that their scheme will cover that in full.
  • Should a patient choose not to use a DSP, then the medical scheme is only required to pay in line with medical aid rates.
  • There are certain instances in which patients can make use of a non-DSP, but these extend to life-threatening emergencies.

What is and is not covered?

  • According to COVID-19 PMB guidelines, the recommended test at PMB level of care is the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test.
  • In a situation where a person is to be treated out of hospital and they present with symptoms, they must be screened by a healthcare provider who deems the test necessary due to the suspicion that the patient may have COVID-19.
  • Regardless of test results, as long as the member was screened by a healthcare professional and was deemed necessary by a medical professional (who is a DSP) and the RT-PCR test is used, it must be funded from the medical aid’s risk-benefit as a PMB.
  • Where the person tests negative, any follow-up care is not covered. In the case of a positive test, hospitalisation (including ventilation) and medical management of the patient’s condition thereafter would be funded from the risk-benefit as a PMB and not from the member’s day-to-day benefits.
  • Where patients are to be admitted to hospital for other reasons (such as elective surgical procedures) they may be requested to undergo a COVID-19. test beforehand.
  • In these situations, it is not PMB level of care therefore medical aids do not have to fund the test from the risk-benefit.
  • Here, the cost of testing would most likely come from the members day-to-day benefit or be self-funded.
  • Should a person voluntarily choose to make use of a non-DSP then, that member is likely to be exposed to a medical expense shortfall for the in-hospital treatment.
  • It is also important to note that while the focus of many is on COVID-19 it is not the only reason why people are being admitted to hospital during this time period.
  • People are still admitted to hospital for essential treatment such as heart attacks, fractures, cancer treatment, organ transplants.

Is gap cover going to help with COVID-19 medical scheme shortfalls?

  • Many families are facing financial hardship and Gap Cover is the smart way of protecting you and your family from costly in-hospital medical expense shortfalls.
  • This is the difference between what your private healthcare providers charge and the rate your medical aid pays for in-hospital treatment.
  • Moreover, hospital admission may not always be as a result of COVID-19, however, with the current times we are in, people need to be prepared for out of pocket medical expense shortfalls — regardless.
  • It is also important for consumers to understand their medical scheme coverage and even more importantly the PMB benefits for COVID-19.

So, contact your financial advisor today and ensure your family is ‘in the know’.

 

Source: IRESS

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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Tame Communications (known as tameTIMES) was established in 1997. This long-established popular community title includes the key shopping centres:  Alberton City, Mall...

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