Kaya 959 Reporter
Impact of the COVID 19 pandemic has raised awareness of the high cost of medical care in South Africa.
Many South African are struggling to keep up with the increases in prices for basic food, fuel and other expenses.
Dr Magwegwe who is corporate wellness executive at Sanlam Health Solutions joined Kaya Biz with Gugulethu Mfuphi to talk about the the health care landscape in South Africa.
Magwegwe says according Stats SA 82 out of every 100 South Africans fall outside the medical scheme net, and so are dependent on public healthcare and up to 70% of South Africans don’t have an adequate emergency fund.
He also argues that key role players in the medical industry is the employer, who due to an obligation to look after the employee make medical aid compulsory for workers.
“Because the employee is struggling to make end meet, due to factors related to COVID 19… the consumer is affected as there are no increases, no bonuses, even reduced working hours, financially the consumer is in trouble.”
“What does the consumer do when they are in trouble? Often what they do is that they realized while they are employed they have a medical aid. They downgrade their plan, thinking if I contribute less on my medical aid, I will have more take home pay.
“Often when that is done without the help of processionals who ask you what you medical expenses have been like in the past, how much do you spend over the counter, have you ever been hospitalized, it is often very difficult for consumers to downgrade, they end up no covering other aspects and using money they don’t really have to cover day to day expenses.”
Magwegwe also spoke about the coming impact of the fuel hike, expected on the 1st of December.
“With the increase in fuel, we all brace ourselves for an increase in medical aid contributions, most medical aids have had a big impact on COVID 19 pandemic, and have already been pushing up prices. It’s challenging times for the South African consumer.”
Magwegwe also mentioned how when it comes to making decisions about what type of health care measures one need to put in place, consideration should be made on they lifestyle one has. He also urged that those who have medical aid should seek professional help before downgrading their plans.
“One of the thing I’d like to emphasis is, I’ve spent a lot of time studying medical aids, and generally how does this really work.”
“You find people spending their day at an office, just deciding to downgrade their medical aid with out getting help. That is one of the worst financial decisions I often see, when people now regret their decision. When they decide to claim, they are told you downgraded, this is no longer covered.”
“I’d like to emphasize the seeking of help if you are on a medical aid and wish to make changes.