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New basic private healthcare for employees of households

04 June 2020 Discovery

Discovery has created an affordable way for employers to secure basic private healthcare services for their employees, including support for COVID-19. This is available through Primary Care for Household Employees, which gives household employees and their dependants access to primary private healthcare benefits from R249 per month.

“As employers welcome their members of staff back into the household, our focus is on financial stability and overall health,” says Nonkululeko Pitje, Head of Employee Health Solutions at Discovery. “While the focus is on preventing the spread of COVID-19, it is also important to minimise the risk of families and staff contracting the seasonal flu viruses which are currently circulating.”

Around 1.2 million people work as employees in private households in South Africa. These individuals provide an invaluable service in their roles as domestic workers, gardeners, drivers and caregivers. With household employees returning to work now as our country enters level 3 lockdown, the health of their staff becomes even more relevant for employers to consider.

“We’re acutely aware of the financial pressures COVID-19 has created, yet it is an incredibly important time for people to have access to quality healthcare. Before the pandemic, research showed that despite the national minimum wage, most household employees were unable to cover essentials such as food, housing and transport, and less than 1% of people within this employee group had access to private healthcare, and instead relied on South Africa’s public healthcare system. We know that access to primary healthcare services is associated with better health outcomes and a decrease in hospitalisation and emergency department visits. This was true before COVID-19 and is now even more important,” adds Pitje.

While Discovery Primary Care for household employees is not a medical aid and does not include hospital cover, employers can choose to add optional emergency hospital cover. The Trauma Benefit costs an additional R63 per month for R300 000 cover, or R88 for R1 million cover. Thisbenefit includes access to emergency private healthcare services at any private hospital, for a range of traumatic events.Funeral cover valued at R5 000 is also included at no extra cost.

“Giving household staff access to these benefits, ensures quick access to medical care in the event that an employee shows symptoms of illness such as COVID-19 and that any potentially serious illnesses are detected and treated early,” adds Pitje.

Discovery Primary Care for Household Employeesoffers a basket of benefits, including access to the WHO Global Outbreak Benefit which provides funding for COVID-19 POSITIVE testing and out-of-hospital treatment, within the Primary Care provider network for confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the period of the pandemic. (Members will be required to pay the network pathologist upfront and claim back from Discovery Primary Care.)

Discovery Primary Care for Household Employees provides a range of private healthcare day-to-day benefits, including:

• Unlimited nurse visits at a pharmacy in the Discovery network
• Unlimited GP visits when referred by a nurse
• Two network GP visits each year in the absence of referral by a nurse
• Cover for medical procedures in a GP's rooms
• Cover for acute prescribed medicine on the medicine list
• One eye test at a network optometrist and one pair of glasses or contact lenses each year
• Dentist visits, fillings and tooth extraction at a network dentist
• Cover for an annual flu vaccine at a network pharmacy
• HIV management
• One wellness screening each year.

Visit the Discovery website for detailed information on Primary Care for household employees.

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