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Mediclinic News : Private healthcare first port of call for a quarter of sick South Africans

Title

Private healthcare first port of call for a quarter of sick South Africans

Date

2016-06-02

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News Description

BUSINESS DAY More than a quarter (27.7%) of South Africans turn first to the private sector when they are ill, according to the latest household survey conducted by Statistics SA. The figure has been broadly consistent since the agency first began asking the question in 2004, and suggests the government has made no real inroads in winning over a significant portion of the public that does not trust the state to provide health services. The figure also stands in contrast to the government’s rhetoric on National Health Insurance, in which it consistently says that the private sector serves just 16% of the population. The 16% figure reflects the proportion of the population that belonged to medical schemes at the end of 2014 (about 8.8-million people), according to data collected by the Council for Medical Schemes. However, Statistics SA’s household survey shows that a much higher proportion of the public uses private sector GPs, dentists and hospitals, paying out-of-pocket instead of pre-funding potential future expenses with medical scheme cover. Statistics SA measured a slightly higher proportion of the population who reported that at least one member of their household belonged to a medical scheme (17.5%). The discrepancy may be due to the fact that many people fail to distinguish between medical scheme products, which are overseen by the Council for Medical Scheme, and health insurance products such as hospital cash plans, which are not. A breakdown of medical scheme coverage by province reflects SA’s demographics, with coverage highest in the most economically active and wealthy provinces: 27.7% in Gauteng and 24.2% in the Western Cape. Statistics SA found 81.1% of users of public hospitals and clinics were satisfied with the services they received, while 97.7% of users of private facilities were happy with the care they got.
Created at 2016/06/06 01:20 PM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2016/06/06 01:20 PM by Mediclinic