Approximately 83% of the population relies on public clinics and hospitals for healthcare. However, most of these facilities are under-resourced which often force people to wait in long queues before receiving the necessary care, which in turn also effects their working day.
There are plans under way to roll out the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme. This will involve an overhaul of the public health system which will result in a radical improvement of healthcare delivery. However, the Department of Health has said that the NHI will only be fully implemented 13 years from now.
In the meantime, the combination of the high disease burden and a public healthcare system that is under pressure can have an adverse impact on the workplace, owing to increased absenteeism and reduced productivity.
"Making private healthcare more accessible and affordable to more of the population makes good business sense" says Tauhir Manuel, Operations Manager at GetSavvi Health, an innovative medical insurance provider. "Everyone wins: consumers and the healthcare sector. It also gives employers a more cost-effective alternative to traditional medical aid"
Unlike traditional medical aid schemes, medical insurance gives South Africans access to predetermined private healthcare benefits at a monthly premium
"There is no cross-subsidisation with medical insurance and there are no bells and whistles; all of which push up costs. Medical insurance is designed and priced specifically to remove the barriers that make private healthcare unattainable," says Manuel.
According to recent data released by Occupational Health South Africa and Statistics SA, workplace absenteeism costs the South African economy R16 billion a year! Major South African companies attribute diabetes, along with depression, as one of the top causes of absenteeism.
"Employers who have a workplace wellness programme that includes a private healthcare benefit enable their staff to address medical conditions timeously, as employees" wellbeing has a direct impact on profitability"concludes Manuel