Help the refugees

If you move around the world by choice, consider helping those forced from their homes by conflict. Donate to the UN Refugee Agency today.

We take the hassle out of health insurance: these three health insurance companies provide international medical and dental insurance for expats in South Africa. Get quick simple quotes, and check out our list of FAQs to select the best health coverage plan for you.

Health insurance quotes for expats in South Africa

The Munich-headquartered financial services company offers international health insurance plans for expatriate students, professionals, couples and families. Depending on the policy, Allianz Care covers everyday medical expenses, emergency treatment, dental consultations, maternity, surgery, and outpatient fees.

The American health services company serves expats and globally mobile individuals in more than 200 international jurisdictions. Cigna Global’s policies are easily customized to coverage and cost requirements and customers can pick from three coverage levels, modular plans, and several cost-share options.

Healthcare in South Africa

What do I need to receive healthcare in South Africa?

South Africa has a two-tier healthcare system, with a government-subsidized public healthcare service available to all residents and a private sector that can be accessed by those with private medical insurance. While most local residents use the public system, the majority of expats are insured to use private services which are more extensive and of much better quality.

Do I need private health insurance in South Africa?

You will need private or international health insurance to get treated in private medical facilities in South Africa. While the public health system is considered the best in Africa, it is some way behind the quality provided by the private sector which boasts superior doctors, hospitals and maternity services. Most expats who move to South Africa choose to get treated privately.

FAQ: Health insurance in South Africa

If you choose private medical insurance in South Africa, take some time to shop around and consider the different options. There are many private and international companies offering different insurance plans at different prices, so find the one that’s right for you.

Here are some questions you might want to ask:

1. Does the package cover family members?

If you want additional coverage for dependent family members such as children, you’ll need to add this on and pay extra. Shop around to see which companies offer the best family deals.

2. Are there any restrictions, limitations or exclusions on the policy, e.g. relating to age or pre-existing conditions?

Private health insurance premiums are based on risk factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history. If you have any pre-existing or chronic conditions, some insurers may be reluctant to cover these or charge extortionate rates. Check the small print to make sure companies can’t cancel the policy if you become seriously unwell.

3. What’s a coverage gap and could I be affected?

If you are purchasing a new insurance policy upon arriving in South Africa, there could be a gap between your old policy ending and your new one starting up. The best way of avoiding this is to sort out your insurance before arriving or purchase an international health insurance plan that offers global coverage.

4. Am I covered while I travel?

Most local and national private insurers will only cover you for treatment within the country, plus any overseas countries with whom South Africa has a reciprocal health agreement. To get full global health coverage, it’s better to purchase an expat-friendly international insurance policy.

5. What treatments are covered?

Private health insurance will cover you for a wider range of treatments than what’s available through the public system, but you’ll need to specify what you require and check for exclusions. For example, dental treatment is not always included so you may need to pay extra for this.

6. How straightforward is the process for making a claim?

Healthcare payments in South Africa are made upfront, so you’ll need to pay and then apply for a reimbursement from your insurer. Check the claims process, how long it takes to get the money back and have a look at online reviews to check for any companies to avoid.