Healthcare in Johannesburg: What Expats Need to Know
Posted by Dannielle Noonan
The international health insurance advisors at Medibroker are increasingly being contacted by people relocating to Johannesburg as more expats recognise the necessity of comprehensive private health insurance in South Africa’s economic hub.
The greenest city in South Africa offers many benefits for expats looking for a slower pace and a bona fide safari on their doorstep. It’s increasingly appealing to expats who want their children to enjoy a real childhood - one that involves climbing trees with bare feet under a perpetually blue sky.
However, the gap in standards between private and public health care provisions in South Africa is wide and if you’re thinking of moving there, it’s wise to get private medical cover. Johannesburg’s public health system is still fragmented and has a long way to go to fulfill the region’s vision of "One City One Health System”.
Just as most expats in Johannesburg are likely to live in gated communities with sensible security precautions in place, they should also take steps to protect their health and finances.
Public Healthcare in Johannesburg
If you're planning a move to South Africa, you will have already taken the level of safety in your chosen area into account - but have you considered how Johannesburg's conditions could effect your access to healthcare? Despite ongoing urban renewal; poverty, unemployment, poor social conditions and a lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and poor housing, as well as the rising HIV/AIDS epidemic, have a direct impact on Johannesburg’s medical provisions. The overstretched and underfunded public health system in South Africa means expats can struggle to get decent medical care when they need it.
In addition to the obvious downfalls of Johannesburg's public healthcare systems, local health insurance schemes can be expensive and unreliable. It has been known for the insurer to cancel cover when a policyholder notifies them of future treatment. This leaves the policy holder uninsured when they need it most and faced with the near-impossible task of finding a plan that will cover them for a condition which is then classed as pre-existing.
Private Healthcare in Johannesburg
Fortunately, Johannesburg’s private healthcare system is of a very high standard and on par with that of any major international city. With the appropriate international health insurance plan, expats in the sprawling 'City of Gold' can access advanced medical facilities in private hospitals and receive treatment from highly trained specialists. Expats can also benefit from 24/7 emergency ambulance and helicopter services. These assets make Johannesburg’s private healthcare the most robust of all the African nations and one of the reasons that expats choose the city to build a life in.
It is essential for expats in in the city to arrange medical cover or to negotiate a provision for health insurance in their employment contract, and Medibroker strongly advises that you speak to a professional health insurance broker to discuss your needs.
Steve Nelson, sales advisor at Medibroker says: “With many international plan providers to choose from it is important that you get the right level of cover for you and your family. It is important to consider benefit levels, scope and cover and of course any exclusions. Getting this wrong can leave you exposed to hefty medical bills that you will have to meet yourself.”
If you are working in Johannesburg and your company does offer a benefits package that includes private healthcare, it’s wise to question the extent of that cover. Does it include maternity? Are your family covered? What about medical evacuation cover?
Our friendly advisors can guide you through the complexities of international health insurance for Johannesburg or anywhere else in the world. What’s more, our service is completely free and we do not operate in the interests of any of the insurance providers we recommend. Instead, we work in your best interests.
Request a free international health insurance quote today or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, call the team on +44 (0) 191 270 3034.
To learn more about expat life in Johannesburg, read our expat interview.