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Is Medical Aid in South Africa Worth the Money?


Due to a steady decline in the quality of state-funded healthcare, many now seek treatment in the private sector. Most couldn’t afford it without medical aid. Just under a quarter of the people living in South Africa’s metropolitan areas are members of a medical scheme, while the figure for those in the rest of the country is closer to sixteen per cent.

Although these figures mean that most of South Africa’s 44 million inhabitants still receive no such support, the number of citizens currently benefitting from private healthcare cover is around 9,5 million and growing. However, this regrettable disparity is not due to any inherent failings in the concept of subsidising treatment and medication. Instead, it is rooted in poverty, unemployment, the rising cost of diagnostic procedures, surgery and hospitalisation, and the inevitable trickle-down effect on premium prices.


Efforts to make medical aid more affordable

Undoubtedly, assistance with private healthcare expenses is necessary and, in many cases, vital, but does it offer members value for money? Individual needs vary, so scheme managers must provide a range of products to meet them all. At the same time, they must do everything possible to keep their premiums affordable and their benefits relevant.

Only government initiatives to boost the economy, create new job opportunities, raise education levels and distribute the nation’s wealth more equitably can put medical aid within everyone’s reach. In the meantime, at KeyHealth, we believe our members deserve real value. Consequently, we have done everything to ensure our products are as affordable as possible without compromising their benefits. To achieve this, we have adopted the following strategies:

  • An extensive network of designated service providers:

    Although South Africa’s Department of Health publishes recommended tariffs for all medical services, the private sector is not bound by these. To overcome the exorbitant fees charged by some, we have recruited a network of providers willing to levy fees closer to the DoH recommendations.

  • Extended hospital plans:

    These were initially introduced for young, single, healthy individuals with limited incomes to cope with the high cost of surgery and hospitalisation, if necessary. We have taken the concept further to create plans more suitable for families by increasing benefits and adding varying levels of day-to-day cover as standard.

  • Free core benefits:

    Regardless of the premium price, each KeyHealth product includes three unique benefits at no extra cost.


KeyHealth solutions

To our six standard products, we add the bonus of our “Easy-ER”, “Health Booster”, and “Smart Baby” programmes. Is medical aid worth the money? Of course, but why not contact us to find out for yourself?