The University of Cape Town (UCT) together with the coalition of unions, has procured primary healthcare services from Kaelo Health for staff in pay classes 2 to 6. Membership will come into effect on 1 July 2019, and is compulsory.
Employees who are currently members of other registered medical aids may remain on their existing schemes, but proof of cover must be provided.
The option chosen is Kaelo’s MyHealth Plus, a medical insurance plan that provides access to extensive primary healthcare benefits through a network of contracted and other medical service providers in the private sector. Kaelo MyHealth Plus will also be available to employees’ dependents through an application process, subject to certain terms and conditions.
The development follows a substantive agreement reached between UCT and the coalition of unions representing these pay classes (NEHAWU, UAWU, SALIPSWU, DETAWU and the EU) earlier this year. The agreement for compulsory cover was reached because of the reduced premiums offered to the UCT group, as well as access to an onsite clinic for staff.
Although medical schemes in South Africa are entitled to impose a three-month waiting period for new members, or a 12-month waiting period for specific health conditions, UCT members on Kaelo MyHealth Plus will not be subjected to any waiting period.
Making the announcement in a communique to staff, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said she was pleased to announce a medical plan for UCT staff in these pay classes.
“The University of Cape Town recognises that access to quality and affordable healthcare is key for all staff members. UCT also recognises that existing healthcare plans available at the institution do not necessarily offer suitable options for everyone.
“The University of Cape Town recognises that access to quality and affordable healthcare is key for all staff members.”
“Out of this recognition, I am pleased to announce that the successful service provider is Kaelo Health, and the plan is Kaelo MyHealth Plus.”
Monthly deductions via payroll
The costs for Kaelo MyHealth Plus will be deducted from the main member’s cost of employment (CoE). These premiums will be paid via UCT’s monthly payroll deduction, with effect from July 2019.
Contributions for 2019 (all including VAT) are R336.95 for principal members; R236.56 for a spouse; R136.16 for a child dependent (under 21 only); and R336.95 for an adult dependent (over 21) with mental or physical disabilities.
As part of the arrangement, employees in pay classes 2 to 6 will also have access to a free primary health clinic based on campus. Details of the clinic will be communicated once finalised.
Staff who have not yet attended an information session are encouraged to do so before the end of June. These sessions, facilitated by Kaelo Health, with an isiXhosa interpreter, have been providing clear guidelines on the benefits provided and how staff can access services. Product information will soon be available on the UCT Human resources site.
Kaelo Health also offers a free online app, which may be downloaded after membership has been activated.
Reaction by staff to the new medical insurance scheme has been varied. On Friday, 7 June a small group of employees protested outside Bremner building, unhappy with the proposed compulsory deductions.
Several staff at one information session said they could not afford the deductions, and were unhappy that UCT would not be paying the monthly membership fee on their behalf. Others said they had been under the impression that they were being offered membership of a medical aid scheme, which they preferred, and not a medical insurance plan.
Others said they were satisfied with the Kaelo MyHealth Plus scheme, but would continue to access their chronic medication through their local clinics, and other services not offered by Kaelo MyHealth Plus via the state health departments, despite the long waiting time at these facilities.
“But isn’t that [the deduction of R336.95] a good thing? I pay R300 to see a private doctor just once,” one commented.
Enquiries about the information sessions may be referred to Blanche Claasen-Hoskins (email@example.com or 021 650 5685) or Debra de Gouveia-Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 650 4001).
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