The high cost of Medicaid membership is one of the biggest challenges for schemes. About 16% of the population contributes to Medicaid programs, which provide them with access to private health care.
Many South Africans in formal employment are not members of medical schemes even though they use private primary health care services. To better cater to this segment of the market, a number of companies including retailers, insurance companies and even hospital groups have introduced alternative insurance solutions that provide affordable access to private healthcare.
Their greater affordability is because they don’t need to cover the minimum number of prescription benefits that medical plans have to pay for.
The government is also pushing for the National Health Insurance to expand health services to more people, but its current model is facing criticism from many quarters, which expect to reduce the role of medical aid in providing certain services, forcing citizens to use the NHI for these services.
However, a number of private healthcare companies have offered to collaborate with the government to ensure excellence in healthcare and retain expertise in the health system for the benefit of all South Africans.