Health insurance for groups in Africa
For expats moving to Africa, group health insurance is often their main access to medical treatment and facilities. The group will be the employer, who has arranged for insurance for all expat employees. This is one policy that covers everybody and it means that everybody has the same level of cover and the same additional features.
Advantages of group health insurance for employers
The main advantage of group health insurance from the employer’s point of view is that it is so easy to arrange. Only a few details on each employee are needed and the policy can be arranged in a matter of minutes. Each employee is then guaranteed the same level of cover and care and the policy can often be altered as needed, so that additional members of staff can be covered. It is also much cheaper for the employer to arrange a group policy than to try to arrange individual health insurance for each member of staff.
Having a group insurance policy in place can also make the employer attractive to the employee – trying to attract the best skills and talents to join your workforce in other countries can be quite difficult but it can help for employees to know that you have already taken care of their healthcare requirements.
Advantages of group health insurance for employees
If your employer has already taken care of your healthcare provision, then this is one less thing for you to worry about when you are arranging your move to another country. It is also worth remembering that when you are trying to arrange your own private expat health insurance in Africa, it may be that providers take a lot more interest in factors such as pre-existing medical conditions, which they are less likely to do when your employer arranges a group policy.
The lower cost of a group policy can also mean that you get more benefits from it without the need to add on a series of smaller policies. You could get dental cover, optical care and many other features too, which are generally charged as extras on individual policies.
The cost of group health insurance
This will depend a great deal on the size of the company that you have, the number of employees that you want to cover and your location. Remember that there are many remote locations in Africa that will mean that your staff have to be evacuated to other locations if they need emergency care, so if you have people working in these areas it could end up costing more than you think. However, not all providers put restrictions on the type of medical facilities that can be used so this means that you have a wider range of options for your policy.
You also need to be aware that standards of healthcare vary across the continent. There are many areas where healthcare facilities are considered to be very basic indeed, with some hospitals not having specialist equipment or staff that are fully trained to western standards. For basic healthcare requirements this may be fine, but if you have a member of staff that needs to undergo emergency surgery or to have treatment for an ongoing medical condition, a facility that has more advanced equipment is going to be necessary.
Is group health insurance necessary?
Due to the varying standards of healthcare across Africa it is very important to ensure that your staff is looked after when they need the help. You could try to manage without it, but it would meant that each individual worker has to arrange their own policy. It is recommended in most countries that expats have private healthcare in order for them to get their working visas so it makes sense for the employer to have it in place already as this can help to cut down on the red tape that can often affect the length of time it takes to arrange for a new member of staff to make the move.
For more information on this, it is a good idea to speak to a member of the team at Africa Expat Health who can explain all the options to you, including details on individual policies. It is our role to match you to the right policy for you and your company so that both you and your employees have complete peace of mind from start to finish.