Tag Archives: Healthcare Abroad

Healthcare in South Africa: What are the options for your family?

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook pages and follow the Twitter profile.

Photo by NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons license.


Expats heading to the Rainbow Nation for a new life in South Africa will need to think carefully about their healthcare provision. There are currently two options for those living there – public or private healthcare.

Whilst 80% of South Africans use the public system, it’s recommended that expats take out private health insurance. Here we explain why.

Public healthcare:

The South African government is this year attempting to establish a public healthcare system that works for all, but in the meantime the service is poorly funded, lacking resources and manpower. Patients can expect long waiting times in inadequate conditions. Treatment is not free so patients pay for services based upon their salary and number of dependents.

As mentioned, the government is working towards improving care with the implementation of a National Health Insurance system. This will eventually be established countrywide and will see more money being poured into the public system. It is hoped that in the next 10 years the service will improve the lives of all South African residents.

Private healthcare:

In contrast to public healthcare, the private sector is excellent with each city having a wide range of hospitals, GPs and clinics. There are a huge number of private hospitals across the country, and the good news is that the service here is one of the best in the world. Very much on a par with care in Europe.

Unsurprisingly, it’s not free. It is recommended that expats take out private healthcare insurance either before they arrive in the country, or with one of the local providers. Some insurance companies will specify the hospitals in which you can have your treatment, others will have their own network.

Choosing your insurance provider will require you to think carefully about what you and your family need. You may be offered insurance by your employer as a key benefit or it may be possible to switch your current healthcare policy to include treatments in South Africa.

All schemes will offer you different variations and options. It is strongly suggested that you to take out an insurance policy that lasts for longer than a year, as companies can refuse to renew them if you fall ill. Others can terminate insurance in the same circumstances so make sure you have understood all the small print. You don’t want to be caught out.

If you choose a local company for insurance you may be required to get your treatment pre-authorised. You may also be asked to carry your medical card with you in your wallet at all times.

It could be the case that your basic care allows you to be treated in an emergency but not in other circumstances. You’ll need to think through your options in terms of visiting the GP, regular check-ups and even dentistry. Only those on the lowest salaries will be entitled to free dental care so look at your medical insurance carefully if you’re keen to include dental visits.

It is the same situation with GPs. Public healthcare consultations will involve waiting times of weeks. If you have paid to go private, these times will be cut dramatically. You can choose your doctor from a long list, dependent on requirements and locations.

Some hospitals expect you to pay upfront for services, and you’ll need to do this before any treatments begin. Make sure you have sufficient funds as it may take a number of weeks to claim the money back from the insurance provider.

Finally, if you are looking to have a baby whilst living in South Africa the good news is that private healthcare in maternity services is of a very high standard. Again make sure you have definitely got all treatment required in your policy.

Take a look at our services to South Africa if you are looking to make the move.

If you are considering moving abroad, PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company, which has specialised in international removals for over 35 years. We are committed to providing a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move for all our customers. Whether you’re sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote.

How to resolve family issues abroad

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile


Loren Kerns, Day 73: Kerns family self portrait {about me}

Loren Kerns, Day 73: Kerns family self portrait {about me}


Packing up and moving away can, in many instances, be a fresh start. The opportunity to create a better life somewhere new and exciting. Unfortunately it can also throw up problems: What do you do about schooling? What happens if an elderly relative falls ill and you’re thousands of miles away?

Many family issues won’t go away simply because you’re in Australia or New Zealand. Coping with them can be incredibly difficult as you may not know where to turn when a problem arises.

With this in mind, here’s our advice for resolving your problems while overseas.

Where do you send your children to school?

If you have school age children coming with you a prime consideration is where they’ll be educated. You will have to decide whether you want to put them into an International School, or a local one. An International School will provide a familiar curriculum and language and if they are in their teens and at a crucial stage of their education, this could be the best choice. However, if your kids are younger, going to a local school could be a great learning experience. See this website for detailed information about schooling in numerous countries: https://www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/living-abroad/help-for-british-nationals-living-overseas

What if your children don’t like their new home?

Moving away from family and friends is a big deal and even harder for children who may have had very solid friendship groups back home. There will of course be a period of transition for everyone but children in particular will need help to adjust. A new school may provide friends but they may also need a nudge towards a favourite sport or hobby. Check out local websites such as http://goodsports.com.au/find-a-club/ to find something of interest for your child.

An elderly parent falls ill back home, what do you do?

If you have parents back at home there’s a chance that they may fall ill while you are away. Other family members may be able to help if there is an emergency, but you can’t rule out jumping on a plane at some point to deal with a crisis. Don’t forget to have some money set aside if you suddenly need to buy a flight. Time differences can make communication difficult so schedule in appointments for any discussions and organise your Skype (https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA79/how-do-i-install-skype?) and FaceTime https://www.apple.com/uk/ios/facetime/ accounts to keep cost to a minimum.

How will you pay for your healthcare?

If you are going to be living in another country it’s important to have all your healthcare plans in order from the beginning. Every country has a different way of doing this (and paying for it), so do your research carefully. http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/movingabroad/Pages/Introduction.aspx has lots of helpful information.

What happens if your relationship looks to be heading for trouble?

Moving to another country can put a strain on relationships as the stress of living with new challenges can prove too much for some couples. Statistically expat marriages are more likely to run into trouble. If the worst does happen remember that laws overseas regarding separation, divorce and child custody vary enormously so take expert advice. Check out http://www.family-lawfirm.co.uk/how-we-help/international-expat-divorce/international-divorce-questions

Thinking of moving abroad? PSS International removals is a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receive a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 32 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance in ensuring that our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Contact us now for a free estimators survey, online moving and baggage quote.