Medical Aid for Domestic Workers

mediacl aidSoaring medical costs and pressure on state facilities have created the perfect healthcare storm for low income earners, such as domestic workers. These individuals are faced with a "Catch 22" - they simply don't have the financial resources to pay for medical aid, but they also can't afford the time and associated loss of earnings required to wait in long queues at state hospitals or clinics.

Employers are increasingly filling the healthcare gap by funding part or all of domestic workers' monthly medical aid contributions as part of their remuneration packages.

For an employer, the potential benefits of doing this are two-fold; a happy, healthy and productive domestic worker and a household adequately protected from imported infections and dread diseases.

Affordable medical aid

An obvious requirement is that medical aid for domestic workers has to be affordable.

To cater for entry-level earners, many medical aid schemes in South Africa have developed low-cost medical aid plans. These typically offer in-hospital, chronic and day-to-day benefits. However, members must use designated service providers, including the provider's network of approved doctors and hospitals, to avoid having to make co-payments. And these options also offer basic cover.

Example plans that may suit domestic workers

Types of medical aid options that may suit South African domestic workers are: income-based plans which adjust contributions and provided benefits based on individual income.

To illustrate the available options, we've provided a brief snapshot of a reasonably priced medical aid plan that's suitable for domestic workers.

Income-based plan

From Momentum Health, the Ingwe option is an income-based medical aid package that allows members to choose hospitals according to their budgets. Members may elect to use state facilities only, the Ingwe network of hospitals or, for a larger contribution, any hospital of their choice.

For chronic treatment and day-to-day benefits, however, members must use the Ingwe, or Ingwe Active, primary care network of providers.

In addition to cover for 26 chronic conditions, the Ingwe option includes a Health Platform benefit, which incorporates preventative care, a maternity programme and other benefits.

Contributions start from R349 per single member per month for workers earning R550 or less.

Cover for chronic conditions and dread diseases

Notwithstanding the value of the monthly contribution and the associated level of cover, all medical aid plans provide mandatory benefits, known as prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs), that cover the cost of the treatment and medical management of 25-27 chronic conditions.

How to choose the best medical aid for your domestic worker

With multiple schemes offering similar benefits across the board, it's no easy task to narrow down the best medical aid options for your domestic worker.

A sensible approach is to consult experts who specialise in the medical aid industry. They have all the facts and figures at their fingertips, along with in-depth knowledge about the financial sustainability of different South African medical aid schemes.

Call an IFC consultant today for reliable advice about the best possible medical cover for your domestic worker, taking unique healthcare needs and your budget into account.