Health coverage in South Africa

While South Africa has the best health infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa, access to quality healthcare is still somewhat uneven. Facilities are not evenly distributed across the country, and public hospitals often face overcrowding and lack of resources. For these reasons, most expatriates choose to take out personal health insurance in order to get treatment in the private sector and benefit from guarantees adapted to their profile.

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Health insurance for expats in South Africa

How does the healthcare system work in South Africa?


The South African government has been working for some years to introduce a universal public health insurance system, called the National Health Insurance(NHI). The aim of the NHI is to ensure better access to healthcare for all, in both the public and private sectors, but the NHI system has yet to be fully realised. It will be implemented gradually over a period of 14 years, which started in 2012.

Currently everyone can access public healthcare in South Africa, regardless of immigration status. However, services in public hospitals are subsidised at different rates, based on the patient’s income and ability to pay. The fees for the various treatments and services adhere to the Uniform Patient Fee Schedule, with a number of services being free across the board.

In the private sector, on the other hand, the costs―which are considerably high in relation to the average income―must be fully absorbed by the patient. Private care, though, offers a much higher standard of care than the public sector, with more modern facilities and specialised services. Almost 80% of the country's doctors work in the private system, so waiting times are also much shorter.

How to choose health insurance in South Africa: local or international?
 

Most expats in South Africa take out private health insurance to cover their expenses in the private sector.

Some employers offer local plans as an employee benefit. However, in order to have sufficiently comfortable coverage to suit their needs, foreigners usually opt for supplementary international health insurance. These plans will cover you outside South Africa, continue to cover you if you change employers, and provide important benefits such as repatriation assistance, or a free medical telemedicine service.

For those living in rural South Africa, it is particularly important to choose a healthcare plan that offers emergency evacuation coverage. Rural areas of the country are poorly served by the health system, and sometimes difficult to access.

What is the cost of healthcare in South Africa?

Liste exemple remboursements

GP CONSULTATION

A visit to a GP will cost an average of ZAR 2,000 (€120)

APRIL International up to 120 €*

Out-of-pocket expenses 0€**

SPECIALIST CONSULTATION

You will be charged ZAR 3,500 (€207) for a visit to a specialist

APRIL International up to 207 €*

Out-of-pocket expenses 0€**

HOSPITALISATION - MATERNITY

ZAR 80,000 (€4,730) for a natural delivery with an epidural (with 3 days in hospital)

APRIL International up to 4730 €*

Out-of-pocket expenses 0€**

Disclaimer

Examples of average costs of care in the private health sector - APRIL International data 01/2022

 

* Example of reimbursement with MyHealth International - Comfort

** Example of the amount to be paid by the insured after reimbursement

Care in South Africa

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Care in South Africa
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Choosing hospitals in South Africa
 

In South Africa, primary healthcare is provided by general practitioners (GPs), often grouped together in community health centres or clinics. Patients with private health insurance can choose their own GP and can also consult a specialist without a referral.

The quality of South African public hospitals varies, with those associated with universities providing the best care (they are located in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Mthatha and Bloemfontein). However, these hospitals generally have very long waiting times, as they look after the health of about 80% of the country's citizens.

The country's 215 private hospitals are much more widely available and provide access to care and services that are close to international standards. Mediclinic and Netcare are the two largest networks.

Titre phone establishment list
Health facilities

Phone establishment list

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Emergency numbers in South Africa

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General emergency (mobile phones only)
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Police
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Ambulances
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Services group
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COVERAGE IN PRIVATE FACILITIES
Description
Reimbursement of health expenses from the first euro/dollar, including in private hospitals
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TRAVEL WITH PEACE OF MIND
Description
Coverage in South Africa, or even in other countries when you travel
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OPTICAL & DENTAL CARE
Description
Reimbursement of optical and dental care (option)
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UNLIMITED TELEMEDICINE SERVICE
Description
A free medical telemedicine service available 24/7 anywhere in the world
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TRANSPORT MEDICAL
Description
Repatriation assistance is included in your cover
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DIRECT BILLING
Description
In the event of hospitalisation, you pay nothing out of pocket

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