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15 Expats Talk about Health Insurance and Healthcare in South Africa

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By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on May 18, 2023

Summary: The quality of medical care in South Africa is generally considered to be lower than that of the United States. Emergency services in South Africa are generally reliable, though response times may be longer than in the US. To call for an ambulance in South Africa, you can dial the emergency number 112 from any phone.

How are healthcare services South Africa?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in South Africa, they replied:

"South Africa has a comprehensive healthcare system that provides a range of services to its citizens. The public healthcare system is funded by the government and is available to all South African citizens and permanent residents. The public healthcare system is generally of good quality, with a network of public hospitals and clinics providing primary, secondary and tertiary care. Foreign residents are able to access the public healthcare system, but may be required to pay for some services. Expats in South Africa can use the public healthcare system, but may need to pay for some services. Private healthcare is also available in South Africa, and many expats opt to use private healthcare services due to the higher quality of care and shorter waiting times," remarked one expat living in South Africa.

"I have insurance that covers hospital stays and some surgery. I also pay for "gap insurance", which pays most all of the shortfall in coverage for surgery. Result is that almost 100% of the costs were paid for the five major surgeries that we have had in the post 10 years," said one expat living in Cape Town.

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What are medical services in South Africa like?

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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