Before you leave for South Africa, have you thought about taking out international health insurance? Mondassur allows you to cover all your risks (emergencies, illnesses, repatriation…) by choosing a personalised international health insurance adapted to all your needs.
The health system in South Africa
The South African health system is divided into a public sector, funded by the government, and a rapidly growing private sector. Considered one of the most dynamic health markets in the world, South Africa has 422 public and 203 private hospitals. A growing medical devices market too. 9% of GDP is spent on the health sector.
How does the health system in South Africa work?
The South African health system is mixed. 80% of the population opts for public sector care as the costs are much lower than private sector care. 40% of the Department of Health’s expenditure is incurred in the public sector, the government is committed to universal health coverage available to all citizens. Fees in this sector are very low indeed. They vary according to the patient’s salary and the number of medical staff in charge. The private sector is the best option for you as it is more efficient, more technologically advanced and its clinics attract the best doctors in Southern Africa.
As an expatriate, you are free to choose the insurance that will cover you once you are here. There is no obligation to take out local South African insurance. You can opt for private international insurance. If you are employed by a South African company, your company is under no obligation to fund local insurance.
What vaccinations should I get before moving to South Africa?
It is very important, before your expatriation to South Africa, to take stock of all the vaccinations to be done before the big departure. Indeed, the WHO, the National Travel Health Network and ourselves strongly recommend that you get vaccinated for :
- Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
- Yellow fever
- Rabies and Tetanus
In addition, if your children are under one year old, they should be vaccinated against measles. You should also have your doctor prescribe medication or antibiotics for diseases that you may catch in South Africa. Dengue fever and chikungunya are present in many African countries, so you are not immune to contracting one of these diseases during your stay in South Africa.
How do I consult a general practitioner or specialist in South Africa?
In South Africa, there are several options for consulting a doctor, on the one hand you can contact them by phone and book a consultation, they do not make many house calls except in case of emergency. In the public sector, consultations cost between 30 and 60 rand, which is equivalent to between 1.70 and 3.42 euros. In the private sector, the fees are charged by doctors and are much more expensive than the government’s fee schedule. A service with a general practitioner can cost 300 rand or about 17 euros and 700 rand for a specialist (40 euros). A private doctor may try to prescribe more medical procedures than you need, so do not hesitate to negotiate the price of the consultation beforehand
Access to mobile phones for the local population is increasing exponentially. The development of health applications to overcome the crucial lack of access to care is just as important. These phone applications will allow you to consult doctors online and facilitate access to many questions without spending hours in public hospital queues. For example, with these applications, you will be able to locate the nearest and most appropriate medical centre for your needs, identify counterfeit medicines. You will be able to get more regular follow-up if you are undergoing medical treatment: simply send a message to your doctor who will respond quickly and you will not need to book a consultation.
How to treat your child in South Africa?
To book a consultation with a paediatrician in South Africa, you can use health apps or websites.
You can also get recommendations of paediatricians from other expats in South Africa who you can contact through forums.
The average cost of a consultation with a paediatrician is between R500 and R1000, or between €30 and €60.
Dental consultations in South Africa
In South Africa, the average cost of a dental consultation is between R300 and R500. Fees vary from practice to practice.
The cost of a dental x-ray starts at R350.
A dental crown costs on average R3000.
A tooth extraction can cost around R350.
A dental implant costs on average between R20000 and R200000.
The cost of conventional braces is between R15500 and R31000. On top of this, there are additional upfront costs that can range from R10000 to R35000.
The emergency service in South Africa
The emergency number in South Africa is 107, your call will be redirected to an emergency call centre and brings together the fire brigade, the police and the ambulance service.
The number 112 can be reached by calling from a mobile phone, this is a second emergency number that also works in South Africa. It will transfer your line to a centre that will connect you to the nearest emergency service.
To call an ambulance in South Africa, you can dial 10177. A service will take your call and send an ambulance to you.
What are the top cities for medical treatment in South Africa?
Medical tourism is also practised in South Africa, i.e. foreigners come to South Africa for medical treatment and demand quality care. Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban are four major South African cities renowned for the quality of their medical treatment. Access to care is simpler, the follow-up is more professional and the health staff is more qualified, with doctors recognised throughout the world. Hospitals are ultra-modern with state-of-the-art technology.
Some examples of popular hospitals in South Africa
As an expatriate, are you unsure of which hospital to go to for fear of receiving sub-standard care? Evaluated on the following criteria, here is a list of popular private hospitals ranked among the best in the country:
- Clarity of information given to patients
- Efficiency of health care staff
- Rate at which the hospital responds to patient requests
- Patient welfare
- Ahmed Al-Kadi Hospital (Durban)
- Busamed Hillcrest Hospital (Durban)
- Busamed Gateway Hospital (Umhlanga)
- Busamed Modderfontein Hospital (Johannesburg)
- Busamed Paardevlei Hospital (Cape Town)
Examples of average prices for medical care in private hospitals in South Africa
- Appendicitis surgery: R21360
- Breast cancer treatment: R2769360
- Surgical service per day on average: R4025
- Consultation with a gynaecologist: R1400
- Paediatric service (for children under 12 years): R4825
Pregnancy and childbirth in South Africa
If you are an expatriate and are pregnant in South Africa, your pregnancy can be managed in a hospital (we recommend that you go private), by a gynaecologist or an obstetrician. To find your obstetrician or gynaecologist who will follow you throughout your pregnancy, we recommend that you contact other expatriates who have given birth in South Africa. They will be able to give you contacts they trust.
The choice of your gynaecologist or obstetrician who will follow your pregnancy will determine the hospital or clinic in which you will give birth. If you prefer to choose the hospital in which you want to give birth, then you will automatically be assigned to a doctor or gynaecologist in reverse.
In South Africa, Caesarean sections are more common than natural births, so you will most likely be offered a Caesarean section, and you should make it clear that you want to give birth naturally.
Examples of average maternity-related costs:
- Childbirth (private hospital): R14120
- Childbirth (private) + 3 days in hospital: R25000
- Caesarean section (public hospital): R17815
- Caesarean section (private hospital): R40000
Is it necessary to take out international health insurance for expatriation to South Africa?
If you are planning to expatriate, or are thinking of expatriating to South Africa, it is essential to take out international health insurance. On the one hand, there is a huge price difference between the public and private health care sectors. In the public sector, the quality of care is poor, and the waiting time for appointments is long and far between. In the private sector, you will be treated by highly qualified doctors, with very short waiting times and will receive high quality care. Taking out a private international insurance policy will cover your costs at unbeatable rates and allow you to get treatment in private facilities without breaking the bank.
Which private health insurance for South Africa and for whom?
Whatever your profile, taking out health insurance is highly recommended if you are planning to stay in or move to South Africa.
- If you are planning to visit South Africa as a tourist, we recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover private sector health costs during your stay. It is strongly advised against relying on the public sector if you need to be treated, as waiting times and possible medical complications will ruin your holiday.
- Whether you are an entrepreneur, a digital nomad or an expatriate employee, when you obtain your work visa, it is essential that you take out private international health insurance to ensure that you are covered both in the private sector and abroad, and in the event of medical repatriation to another country, even if you have to undergo an operation that cannot be performed in South Africa.
- If you are a student and wish to spend a semester, an internship or part of your studies in South Africa, it is mandatory that you take out health insurance before your departure. A student health insurance such as GoldStudent, which has 3 formulas of guarantees, adapts to your profile and will allow you to benefit from health care in private, abroad and medical repatriation without breaking the bank.
Mondassur recommends that you take out GoldExpat private health insurance as soon as you leave for South Africa.
This insurance includes 100% coverage of actual hospitalisation costs. In order to have access to private health care without paying huge sums of money, it is imperative that your insurance covers you for 100% of your health care costs.
In addition, your routine medical expenses will be covered up to 90%. Although local medicines are cheap, they are not necessarily 100% reliable, while imported medicines are much more expensive. It is strongly recommended that your insurance covers you for routine medical expenses.
GoldExpat guarantees repatriation cover in the event of serious hospitalisation, for example, the death of a family member. Your civil liability is also covered by GoldExpat.
Don’t waste time, get a free quote on our website and/or contact us by email or phone to get more precise information about your situation.