Affordable Health Insurance in South Africa

    January 30, 2018

    What is affordable health insurance in South Africa?


    • There are two kinds of medical coverage – medical aids and health insurance.
    • They are very different from one another.
    • Health insurance tends to offer a more limited range of treatment options.
    • Insurers offering these policies do not have to pay out prescribed minimum benefits.
    • The nature of health insurance makes it a more affordable option.


    If you have a sudden medical emergency, such as a serious illness, or a car accident, it can be a really serious drain on your finances. Even a relatively simple procedure such as an appendectomy could cost a good few thousand Rand.

    The more care you need, the more you can expect to have to pay. If you want to insure yourself against these expenses, you have two basic options – medical aid or health insurance.

    Affordable Health Insurance – Medical Aid

    Medical aids are a cooperative effort between you and other members of the group. Each member pays their premiums into a pool of money. When someone is ill, the medical aid pays the medical expenses out of this pool. The company is not Affordable Health Insurancemeant to run for profit.

    Most medical aids offer a comprehensive range of benefits and allow for different levels of cover. The problem is that the monthly installments tend to be a bit on the higher side, generally starting at over R1 000 per month for a single member, on the least comprehensive option.

    Medical aids are obliged by law to offer certain prescribed minimum benefits to their members, and this could result in increased costs for all members. If you tend to be someone who is healthier, joining a medical aid might not seem like the best option for you.

    But, what do you do instead? Hospitalisation costs you a pretty penny. And, while you may never have been sick a day in your life, an accident could happen at any time. It’s a real dilemma for many people, especially those that cannot afford a standard medical aid.

    That’s where health insurance can provide the answer.

    Affordable Health Insurance – Real Short-Term Cover

    This is not a medical aid at all. The company is not obliged to provide any prescribed minimum benefits. You are taking out a product that is purely insurance-based. It is not considered a substitute for a medical aid because the benefits are more limited, but it is a viable option.

    The premiums are generally a fraction of what you would pay for a medical aid because you are not subsidising other members who may be claiming more than you do.

    Health insurance in South Africa often ties you into a particular care network and has a specific formulary of medication that they will pay for.

    These policies usually pay for a very basic range of day-to-day expenses or allow you to focus solely on hospital expenses if you like.

    The option that you choose will depend on what your personal needs are. Health insurance offers people who could not otherwise afford private healthcare a workable solution.


    All info was correct at time of publishing