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Dangerous jobs: what is and is not covered by hospital plans?

Dangerous jobs: what is and is not covered by hospital plans?

While some of us spend our working day in an office, others are living dangerously. Some jobs are more hazardous than others, such as mining, firefighting, being a paramedic or police officer. However, for those who need it most an affordable hospital plan is always available to people in these industries. What a hospital plan does and does not cover with regard to dangerous jobs is outlined below. 

 

Mining

The mining industry has seen a 31 percent increase in injuries since 2016, with 73 miners dying in 2016. This makes it arguably one of the most dangerous professions on the market, which means that hospital plans in South Africa for miners are essential. 

Mining companies are continually experiencing changing risks to the mine throughout its lifespan. Depending on where the mine is in its timeline can determine what an affordable hospital plan will need to cover for the workers. Some of the risks related to mining include entrapment, toxic gas inhalation and explosions. Having a sound hospital plan is essential for a profession as dangerous as this. 

 

Firefighting

Firefighters are brave souls, willing to take on situations that would make most of us cringe in absolute fear. It is a highly dangerous job, and so it is often the case that the municipality provides a group scheme for the men and women who are employed by the fire department. 

As for life insurance, this is up to the firefighter themselves to acquire. Every firefighter is provided with a worker’s compensation fund, a pension fund and a group life scheme. Because the pay may not be as high as it could be, an affordable hospital plan is a better choice for this profession than a comprehensive medical aid. 

 

The police force

Being a part of the SAPS (South African Police Force) means that you are excluded from the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act. This also means that you will need to take out your own hospital plan or medical aid. 

There is the option of becoming a part of a group medical scheme, but each municipal police station provides medical insurance for all their employees as per the Worker’s Compensation Fund guidelines. While police officers are covered by this insurance, having a hospital plan for extra cover is often common practice due to the highly volatile nature of the work involved in their daily lives. In 2017 alone, 57 policemen were killed in the line of duty. 
Workers in the agricultural sector
While this may not seem like the most dangerous profession, increased exposure to the sun can increase skin cancer. Exposure to fertilisers and pesticides can also increase the risk of illnesses which are unique to the agricultural sector. 

There are dedicated societies which offer medical aid to agricultural workers, but some farm owners choose to offer a hospital plan or group medical aid scheme for their workers. The risks involved with agricultural work include machinery-related injuries, the breathing-in of chemicals and severe sunburn. These injuries are covered by the group medical scheme offered by many hospital plans geared towards the industrial sector. 

 

Paramedics and Emergency Services

Becoming a paramedic is no small feat. It is a job that is only chosen by the few who are passionate about helping others in the most dire of times. They find themselves in hazardous situations while attending to patients, and so need the best possible affordable hospital plan for themselves. 

The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) provides these workers with protection against illness, injury and disease contracted in the workplace. However, some choose to have their own medical aid or hospital plan in place just to be sure that every eventuality is covered. Some EMS companies provide medical packages to their employees as part of a group scheme. 

 

Mechanics

Car, truck or diesel mechanics have risky jobs. They are underneath vehicles all day, dealing with hazardous chemicals such as asbestos, which is found in brake fluid and clutch parts, and often breathe in oil and fumes while working. 

Many institutions provide their employees with a medical aid package, making the financial load of their employees lighter and easier to handle. Some mechanics may have to get their own hospital plan that offers sufficient cover for possible work-related injuries. A comprehensive hospital plan is the best option for this position, as it will also cover day-to-day GP visits and medication if the need arises. 

 

Conclusion

Having a dangerous job does not always mean that you are unable to find an affordable hospital plan. You will be able to find a plan that provides sufficient coverage for your profession if your employer does not offer a group scheme medical aid package. If you are interested in finding a job as a police officer, a firefighter or even a miner, then you should ensure that you are medically covered for any eventuality. 
 

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