Altfin Medical Aid Scheme announced yesterday that its MedAccess mobile based medical aid service is going to be extended to Econet Wireless and Telecel Zimbabwe subscribers in the coming few days. The service, which was launched in December last year, was until now only available to NetOne subscribers.
Econet is the largest mobile operator with 6.4 million subscribers and commands more than 65% (or 67% depending on who you’re listening to) of the mobile telecoms market in Zimbabwe. Excluding Econet subscribers from the MedAccess service meant Altfin was effectively shutting out the majority of the market from the service.
MedAccess was designed by Altfin to provide a micro-medical aid scheme for previously uninsured individuals, most of who are in the informal sector and are unable to access traditional medical aid services. The service charges individuals up to US $3 dollars a month for health cover and allows household head to register their spouse and children on the same mobile line. Transactions are carried out using mobile phones and so far, subscribers are charged US 20 cents per transaction by the mobile operator. Interaction with the system is done via an SMS platform.
Because the product is designed for low income members, Altfin allows subscribers the flexibility to stagger their premium payments over a 30-day period.
The actual medical health services can be accessed by the members at designated Municipal clinics, Government and Mission hospitals around the country.
It’s not yet clear what the uptake of the service has been as Altfin has not released any stats. We will be getting in touch with them for that information.
Altfin is the only medical insurance company in Zimbabwe providing a mobile phone based medical aid scheme. In terms of general individual insurance, Econet last year launch a life insurance value added service which subscribers could access by recharging their mobile phone accounts by a certain threshold a month. The service was however shut down some 7 months after launch, when Econet ran into some disagreements with its Namibian technical partner, Trustco.