For the past two years, affordable medical insurance has ensured that South Africa’s previously uncovered blue collar workers have access to medical cover. “In these tough economic times, it is refreshing to be able to extend access to quality care for those previously excluded,” said Butsi Tladi, Managing Director of Alexander Forbes Health.
The Alexander Forbes Health Diagnosis publication reported that only 16% of South Africans have medical aid. In the past year, Alexander Forbes Health has extended cover to 15 000 South Africans through low-cost medical insurance products. “When one considers how stretched the public healthcare system in SA is, we are glad to have reduced the burden on the State.
In a market that is stagnant, this is just a small percentage of the potential number of citizens who still need cover – there is a sizable gap between the number of citizens - and those who have medical aids,” Tladi said. With the average cost per beneficiary on a medical scheme is about R1,700 per month, medical insurance is a much more affordable at about R250 a month. “Blue collar workers have historically been excluded from medical schemes due to affordability. The new generation, health insurance products include emergency hospitalisation with decent hospital limits. It enables employers to offer real solutions across their employee base.”
In April 2017 the Demarcation Regulations came into effect, allowing for the first time health and accident policy contracts that may conduct the business of a medical scheme and remain insurance contracts outside the regulatory provisions of the Medical Schemes Act.
Because some policies could not be amended without regressing access to healthcare services from private healthcare providers for part of the population that relies on these, the Minister of Health granted a two-year exemption period for these policies to become compliant with the Insurance Act. Last month, the exemption was extended for a further two years until March 2021.