Medical Aid for Domestic Workers

Any person can join a medical aid irrespective of their job and domestic workers are no exception. However, domestic workers are among the lower paid workers in South Africa and medical aid cover may not always be possible without an employer’s contribution.

Unlike UIF and pension, medical aid cover is not obligatory for the employer. Many employers cover anywhere between 25% to 50% of an employee’s medical aid contribution as it is an incentive for the employee as well as a tax benefit for the employer. Domestic workers are no different and many employers may wish to provide additional incentives to their employee beyond just the annual salary increase.

Types of Medical Aid Cover

The cost of a medical aid is always a consideration. If an employee has to fund the entire monthly contribution on their own, this may limit the choice of plans. Medical aid hospital plans are usually cheaper than a comprehensive medical aid with out-of-hospital benefit.

These days, most schemes offer medical aid plans for low income earners. Some these are network plans. These will allow the member to only consult with a doctor or visit a clinic that is covered in the medical aid’s network of preferred providers. While this may be limiting to some extent, it still affords the member access to private healthcare.

Choosing a Medical Aid for your Domestic Worker

Your domestic worker is more than just an employee. Many employers consider a domestic worker as part of the family and want to ensure that he/she has access to quality healthcare. Choosing the right medical aid for your domestic worker depends on whether you are covering the full cost of the monthly contributions or only paying in part.

You should speak to an accredited broker and compare medical aids and the cost of different plans. You can also speak directly to a medical aid of your choice and discuss the your budget constraints with them. Most medical aids offer similar plans at around the same cost and there is no single medical aid that can claim to offer the best benefits at the lowest price.

Find the Right Medical Aid

If you are a domestic worker and looking for a medical aid, the process to finding the right cover is the same. You can speak to a broker or deal directly with a medical aid scheme. Your job designation and income is not a deciding factor for the medical aid to accept your application as you can join any medical of your choice provided that you can afford it.

Most schemes advise prospective members not to commit to a medical aid plan that costs more than 10% of their monthly salary. This is to ensure that members do not give up their medical aid cover at a later stage due to affordability issues. While medical aid cover is essential these days, it should be reasonably priced so that it is affordable to you.

If medical aid is truly unaffordable, you should at least consider a hospital cash back plan to cover your financial commitments should you be hospitalized and unable to work. These types of insurance plans are NOT medical aids but they are a form of financial security when you are unwell. However, these days some of the cheapest medical aid plans are similarly priced to hospital cash back plans. Therefore you have take your individual needs into consideration before making the decision between a medical aid or hospital cash back plan.