Despite policy initiatives to provide affordable healthcare, the cost of private healthcare in South Africa remains very high. It continues to grow ahead of inflation, increasing by a shocking average of 300% over the last 10 years.
It’s estimated that as many as 84% of South Africans cannot afford private healthcare. Even those who do have medical aid end up with hefty bills due to gaps between what their medical aid schemes pay out and what healthcare providers actually charge.
The high costs of healthcare in South Africa
According to the 2021 Global Medical Trends Survey Report by Willis Towers Watson, the costs of medical care in South Africa are set to rise by another 6% in 2021.
This increase is significantly higher than inflation.
It’s also despite the effects of the pandemic. In 2020, an overall decrease in non-urgent treatments and surgeries resulted in South African medical aids spending less than originally budgeted on claims.
The costs of healthcare in South Africa have continued on an upward trajectory over the past two decades. According to an inquiry by the Competition Commission, per capita spending on hospitals increased by 40.7% and spending on medical specialists increased by 55.7% between 2003 and 2012.
This puts our healthcare fees on par with those of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany – countries with much higher GDPs and stronger currencies than South Africa (and arguably, with much better healthcare systems).
Some more depressing statistics…South Africa has a GDP that’s 26% lower than the world average, but it’s private health prices are 92% higher than those recorded for countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), such as Poland, Portugal and Slovenia.
Unfortunately, this trend appears likely continue unless specialist rates and private hospital fees are subject to firm regulation by the South African government.
Alternative medical finance options in South Africa
So what are the alternative options if you need medical finance in South Africa?
Traditional, unsecured loans
Banks and other financial institutions in South Africa offer personal loans, all with different interest rates and repayment terms.
To qualify for an unsecured personal loan, you’ll need to be employed and able to show you have sufficient income to repay the loan. You’ll also need a good credit rating. If the relevant institution has doubts about whether you’ll be able to repay the loan, your application will be unsuccessful.
An unsecured loan may take many days or even a few weeks to come through, due to lengthy application processes and paperwork.
If you own a valuable asset such as a car, boat, luxury watch, gold jewellery, an antique or artwork, you can use it to secure a short-term, asset-based loan. Once you’ve repaid the loan, your asset will be returned to you.
With this type of loan, also known as a “secured” loan, your asset serves as collateral. Accordingly, there’s no need for time-consuming or intrusive investigations into your employment status, financial history or credit rating.
The process is quick, convenient and confidential. Typically, you can have the medical finance you need on the same day you apply.
Client borrows R10,000 for 90 days.
Total Cost of Loan
Fixed rates range from 36% to 60% APR and payment options range from minimum 3 to maximum 24 months. Apart from the initiation and monthly fees shown below, the only additional fee is credit life insurance if the borrower does not have this already.