Medical and Health Insurance in South Africa
It is essential when applying for a study permit to have proof of medical insurance cover that is recognised in South Africa. The South African Department of Health supports the Department of Home Affairs’ directive requiring all international students to have appropriate South African medical cover while studying in South Africa.
Although some foreign insurance products, secure a study visa from a South African diplomatic mission IEASA recommends that students purchase a South African medical aid product.
It is thus advisable that international students make the necessary financial arrangements for the medical aid cover prior to entry into South Africa. Should the student rely on sponsorship, he/she should ensure that the sponsor is advised of this requirement at the onset of the sponsorship or the admission offer from the institution. Most institutions do not accept a letter from the sponsor in lieu of payment. Payment for the required medical aid cover fee is normally made directly to the medical aid Company, separately from the tuition fees.
Medical Aids in South Africa
The following are medical aid companies with developed student focused products that are registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act. They also offer the minimum benefits that a student may need while in South Africa. They are also accepted by the Department of Health’s medical facilities.
Over years, IEASA has established that the current list of medical aid products that follow, meet the legislative requirements as well as the personal needs of international students. Institutions may obviously augment this list or impose their own specific medical aid requirements.
- Protea Medical Aid Society
- Bestmed Medical Scheme
- Bonitas Medical Fund
- Ingwe Health
For details about Medical Aid providers in South Africa, contact:
- SA Medical Scheme
Malaria is mainly confined to the north-eastern part of South Africa, especially the coastal plain. Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) is also found mainly in the east but outbreaks do occur in other places, so you should always check with knowledgeable local people before drinking free water or swimming. Tap water in South Africa is safe to drink.
South Africa is in the grip of an HIV-AIDS epidemic that has infected millions of people. The country has embarked on an extensive campaign to provide those infected with ARVs and according to a recent HSRC study, there are signs that the epidemic is stabilising.