StatsSA has published its latest General Household Survey (GHS), revealing the number of South Africans that are covered by a medical aid scheme.
The group’s data shows that between 2002 and 2018, the percentage of individuals covered by a medical aid scheme increased marginally from 15.9% to 17.1% in 2016, before declining to 16.4% in 2018.
During this period, the number of individuals who were covered by a medical aid scheme increased from 7.3 million to 9.4 million persons.
StatsSA found that more than one-fifth (22.6%) of South African households had at least one member who belonged to a medical aid scheme.
Approximately one-quarter (24%) of individuals in metros were members of medical aid schemes, exceeding the national average of 16.4%.
StatSA found that medical aid membership is most common in Tshwane (29.6%) and the City of Cape Town (27.7%), while the lowest membership was measured in Nelson Mandela Bay (20.6%) and eThekwini (20.7%).
Almost three quarters (72.9%) of white individuals were members of a medical aid scheme compared to just over one-half (52%) of Indian/Asian individuals. By comparison, only 9.9% of black Africans were covered by a medical aid scheme, StatsSA found.
Hospitals, doctors and traditional healers
When asked where they are most likely to go when first feeling ill, 71.5% of households said that they would first go to a public clinic, hospital or other public institutions, while 27.1% of