COVID-19 Leads To Spike In Respiratory And Spectacles Medical Aid Claims In Zim

THE Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ), which is the umbrella body for all medical aid companies in Zimbabwe says there has been an upsurge in respiratory and Eye related medical aid claims during the COVID-19 period.

By Michael Gwarisa

Speaking during a virtual meeting recently, AHFoZ Chief Executive Officer, Ms Shylet Sanyanga said, “In terms of the impact of COVID-19, we noticed that since the beginning of the pandemic and since the first case was diagnosed here in Zimbabwe, there has been an increase of respiratory related claims from 16% to about 28%.”

She added that there was lack of information pertaining to the pandemic itself and pertaining to the pricing at the beginning of the pandemic in the country which led to massive speculative pricing of treatment and care services.

Nobody had an idea of what exactly it costs to treat or deal with this condition of COVID-19. From prevention, the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as most of the PPE was mainly based on speculative pricing and the cost of treatment also based on speculative pricing because nobody understood exactly what was required and there was also the element of risk to the extent that some service providers introduced an extra layer of costs whenever they had to treat a patient even if the patient was presenting with a condition that is not related to COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, Ms Sanyanga added that there was also a sharp increase in spectacles claims among tertiary institutions students largely due to prolonged time on computer screens during online or virtual lessons sessions.

“We heard reports that quite a number of students dropped off medical aid or were taken off medical aid by their guardians because they were not going to college during the lockdown period. In terms of online learning, some were using online and for those who were using online learning, quite a number of them ended up having challenges with their eyes.

“I think the long hours of concentrating on the computers led to an increase in claims for spectacles which was unfortunately a consequence of online learning for those who are privileged enough to be in a position to continue with online learning,” said Ms Sanyanga.

AHFoZ currently has a membership of 34 and five other affiliates and members from outside Zimbabwe in the SADC region. In terms of coverage, medical aid companies under AHFoZ cover 1.6 million people which translates to 10% of the country’s population.

 

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