Throughout South Africa, many people are being tested for the virus that causes the respiratory illness known as COVID-19. As private facilities and government roll out large scale screening, testing, tracing and medical management programmes to deal with the coronavirus, many citizens are still unaware of the procedures and costs. The unknown often hinders people from taking the necessary precautions, however with the correct knowledge and guidance, one can take the steps to access the required medical treatment for yourself and your family.
One must meet certain clinical criteria to be eligible for testing. These criteria are based on the clear testing guidelines set out by the World Health Organization and the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD – which falls under the National Department of Health).
COVID-19 symptoms include a fever, cough, headache and shortness of breath. Should you show any symptoms or think you have been exposed to COVID-19 you should self-isolate and avoid contact with other people. You can contact your nearest doctor or phone the NICD helpline on 0800 029 999 who will guide and assist you to find a testing facility.
Public sector screening and testing is free. If you are using a private laboratory, ask them about the cost of the test. It is important to contact your medical aid representative or broker to guide you on the process and cover you could receive, preferably before testing takes place.
All or most medical aids should cover the cost of testing from the PMB (Prescribed Minimum Benefits) whether positive or negative results are the outcome. All cases of COVID-19 are regarded as a Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB) condition and should be funded in full in line with the current NICD guidelines. Doctor consultations, clinically appropriate diagnostic tests including Viral PCR; clinically appropriate medication; and costs of hospitalisation including all complications and rehabilitation related to COVID-19 diagnosis should also be covered under the PMB.
However, the use of designated service providers, clinical protocols, and formularies will still be applicable. Therefore, depending on your medical plan and structure, remember to seek medical care from the designated list of providers as prescribed by the medical aid.
Some medical aid schemes have created easily accessible information hubs for queries related to COVID-19 or through which you can link to virtual GP consultations. Should your medical aid not be listed, contact your Glopin Healthcare consultant or send a query via the link should you have any concerns or queries regarding the coronavirus support on offer from your medical aid.