Health & Protection in South Africa



Two of the most common myths people have towards health care are these: it’s for the elderly, and you won’t need it as long as you stay fit. Well, it is about time to throw those misconceptions and learn about the importance of being insured regardless if you are young, single, with family or about to retire. Your expat move will take you away from your personal protection you have in your home country, and as such you need to consider rebuilding it. It can be paid by your employer via the benefits package or dimply directly by purchasing a new set of insurance products.

As you start a new journey in South Africa, explore the various options and start by assessing your need for protection.

Getting Insurance

Expats moving to South Africa are usually part of a relocation program from their employer or sponsor. If it is the same with you, then you need to confirm with the Human Resource department of your company regarding your health protection since it should be included as one of your benefits. Group medical insurance can be tricky and not necessarily portable plans, so make sure you are well explained and have access to the plan documentation.

All legally operating insurance businesses in South Africa are under the regulation and supervision of South African Reserve Bank. This institution oversees all their operations, and if you deem that your company is not adhering to the agreement stated in your policy, you can contact the SARB.

Several other types of insurance can cover your auto, finances, home or business. If you are also interested in getting a policy aside from the one from your employer, you can call the international and local brokers in South Africa. One of them is CIGNA Global, an international company that offers extensive medical care to expats. You can also consider a local provider such as Santam, who is a known insurer of non-life products.

Importance of Insurance

Tuberculosis is one of the pre-eminent causes of death in South Africa along with HIV and AIDS. These types of illnesses are contagious so you have to be very cautious when it comes to your health. Refrain from unhygienic sharing of your belongings and , of course, from having unprotected sex. Other common health risks in the country are Malaria and traveller’s diarrhoea that’s why expats are strongly advised to put insect repellent and drink boiled/purified water when out from the cities to avoid being infected.

It is beyond question why having adequate health insurance is a must for all expats going to South Africa. Travel insurance will only protect you for a while and under some limitations. Aside from prevention and utmost care, some of the illness stated above can lead to death if not immediately treated. Having medical care will not just help you with the hospitalisation but can also cover other preventive treatments or services such as vaccinations, regular check-ups and physical exams without sacrificing your savings.

Local Insurance in South Africa

There is a huge gap between the public and private sectors in South Africa. Those who have a low income are catered by the public health care system while those who can afford the services use the private health care system. If you are planning to go to a public hospital, you should prepare yourself to encounter long wait and understaffed medical personnel. The facilities and equipment are also badly maintained which adds to the overall poor condition of the public health care system. However, the private sector in South Africa proves to be excellent and improving. There are over 200 hospitals manned by skilled doctors all over the country where you can pay a GP per visit.

Expats in South Africa are strongly advised to explore private or better yet, international insurance. Having international coverage will address some of your needs in terms of level of covers ( can come as an add-on to a local plan), geographical coverage and portability (what happens when you move to another destination or with another employer? ).



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Expat Insurance Services in South Africa