Cape Town – Clicks Group will become the first major retailer in South Africa to provide fully employer-funded low-cost health insurance benefits for all its South African employees and the company’s CEO David Kneale is urging other corporates to follow suit in offering quality and affordable primary healthcare services to all staff.
“While approximately 9 million South Africans are covered by private health insurance benefits, there are a further estimated 5 million people in formal employment who are unable to afford medical cover,” said Kneale.
Clicks Group has partnered with Discovery Health to offer low-cost primary healthcare services to approximately 9 200 lower income earning employees who are not currently covered by a medical aid. The scheme will be 100% funded by Clicks Group at an annual cost of approximately R31 million.
“We believe that all South Africans should have access to quality healthcare. As a leader in the healthcare industry and in support of the national healthcare agenda, we are committed to making medicine more affordable and more accessible for all South Africans.”
He said Discovery Health has developed an affordable health insurance benefit which is viable and sustainable, and offers a broad network of quality healthcare providers across the country.
“We encourage other companies to show their commitment to improving access to quality healthcare for their employees by funding their healthcare benefits. Collectively, corporate South Africa can play a meaningful role in reducing the pressure on the overburdened state healthcare system.
“Access to high quality healthcare with well designed benefits will improve the overall health and wellness of employees and contribute to lower absenteeism or sick leave.”
Kneale said providing health benefits to staff will contribute to employee retention, increase employee affiliation by showing that their employer is concerned about their wellbeing while reducing the costs of recruiting and training new staff owing to improved retention rates.
The benefits and services of the Discovery PrimaryCare product include unlimited GP visits, day-to-day medicines, a range of medical procedures in GP rooms, medicine for 27 chronic conditions including HIV, as well as dental, optometry, pathology, radiology and maternity benefits. In addition, members will also have access to emergency private healthcare services for a broad range of traumatic events such as motor accidents, emergency ambulance services as well as funeral cover. Free membership of the Vitality Move wellness programme is a further benefit.
Clicks staff will be required to have six months continuous service with the company before joining the scheme which comes into effect in January 2019. Employees will have the option to include their spouse and child dependants at their own cost.