HEALTH insurance products on the Zimbabwean market are relatively cheaper compared to Medical Aid products.
By Michael Gwarisa
In an interview with HealthTimes, Insurance and Pension Council of Zimbabwe spokesperson, Mr Lyoyd Gumbo said even though the pricing of health insurance and medical aid products was reflective of the competition on the market, the former was relatively cheaper.
“The available health insurance products being offered by the market are relatively cheaper compared to premiums being paid to medical aid schemes as the prices have been all inclusive to cater for different income brackets.
“However, we believe it is competition in the market that will help to lower the cost of health insurance,”” he said.
A survey conducted by HealthTimes indicates that most Health Insurance products were more flexible since they offer cash back backed services in the event of hospitalization.
“The difference between Medical Aid Schemes and Health Insurance is that the former pays in-hospital benefits, which may have shortfalls, which is the primary reason for the latter to supplement the medical aid cover.
“The other difference is in terms of who the beneficiary is i.e. the health insurance policy can pay patients a sum of money when they are admitted in hospital while the latter pays service providers for attending to patients who are on the scheme. In the event that the Medical Aid Scheme is inadequate, the health insurance cover can chip in to close the gap,” added Gumbo.
However, both health insurance and medical aid business fall under the definition of insurance as both involve assuming obligations of paying future claims in exchange of upfront payment of financial contributions(premiums).
For those with medical aid, appendectomy surgery costs an average US$1 670, caesarian section; US$1 700, cataract surgery; US$1 770, while hip and knee replacement is US$13 000. Treatment for cancers, such as ovarian, tongue, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and pituitary tumour excision (which affects the head) cost between US$25 000 and US$30 000, while a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, which allows the doctor to check for diseases in your body, costs about US$5 000.
On the contrary, health insurance products through their cash back make daily payouts of at least $100 over the period one would be hospitalized.
However, some medical aid aid players including Premier Services Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) have introduced the Shield Plan, a low cost medial aid package targeted for informal sector players where beneficiaries pay reasonable amounts for equality health services.