CareCross Health has launched a new health care scheme aimed at domestic workers. The scheme, which was launched in February this year, may signal the start of big changes for domestic workers.
The scheme will cost only R170 a month and will give domestic workers access to private health care despite their low income. The scheme will cover, amongst others, GP consultations, medicines and blood tests. However, as can be expected from such a low membership cost, it will not cover more expensive aspects of health care such as hospitalisation and chronic medicine.
Dr Nauta, from CareCross Health, believes that the scheme could have a positive impact not only in the lives of domestic workers but also for the economy in general. Having a healthier workforce leads to less days off and less money lost.
However, not everything is moonshine and it is expected that this scheme will not reach the majority of domestic workers who so desperately need it. Most domestic workers cannot afford this membership fee and they are dependent on their employers to cover the cost. The problem is that this rarely happens.
The South African Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union believes that the government should implement a health care plan for domestic workers and, in so doing, ensure better health care without additional costs.
Closely related to this is the Department of Labour’s intent to establish a provident fund for both domestic and farm workers. However, the feasibility of this must first be determined before it can be implemented. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan mentioned this fund in his last budget speech but there seems to be no progress towards implementing it.
With a little luck, CareCross Health’s new scheme will be the start of a move towards a better future for domestic workers.