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Circular 20 of 2023: Guidance to medical schemes on the impact of the delay in the submission of Annual Returns and Annual General Meetings

The purpose of this Circular is to provide registered medical schemes with guidance on dealing with the impact of the delay of the submission of scheme Annual Financial Statements (AFS) and Annual Returns (AR) for the year ended 31 December 2022, caused by technical issues experienced on the return system.

In this regard, Circulars 14 and 16 of 2023 were issued by the CMS to update medical schemes on the progress of the annual return system.

The CMS is mindful that the delay in the submission of the annual returns adversely impacts the sign-off timelines by the external auditors. It is common cause that the scheme auditors sign off the AFS and the AR at the same time. In terms of Circular 19 of 2023, which was duly issued on 15 May 2023, medical schemes were advised that the electronically signed submission of the Annual Statutory Returns must be submitted by the 9th of June 2023.

Therefore, this delay might have impacted the ability of schemes to conduct their Annual General Meetings (AGMs) within the required timeframes, given the relevant notice periods as stipulated in the medical scheme rules.

Furthermore, it is important to note that the medical scheme rules are binding as provided in section 32 of the Medical Schemes Act (MSA) and that AGM dates and notice periods should be adhered to.

In order to assist medical schemes to hold relevant AGMs within the stipulated planned timeframes and ensure that medical schemes do not incur unnecessary non-healthcare expenditure due to cancellations and reprinting etc., medical schemes may submit the unsigned AFS as part of the AGM notice packs to members.

A clear disclaimer should be indicated as follows: The signed audited financial statements of scheme XXX have not been submitted to the CMS and might be subject to change as may be directed by the CMS.

Download the full Circular here