Employers of domestic workers can now buy their employees primary healthcare cover with private doctors for less than R200 a month.

Workers whose employers take out the cover on their behalf can make appointments to see private general practitioners, rather than have to wait at state clinics, and can access unlimited acute medicine, basic blood tests and X-rays, as well as certain maternity benefits.

The product, DomestiCare, is a joint initiative between Occupational Care South Africa (Ocsa) and CareCross Health. Ocsa provides workplace healthcare services to 250 000 employees from 400 large companies through clinics and the CareCross doctor network.

CareCross Health services 200 000 medical scheme beneficiaries, and both it and Ocsa have been providing healthcare services for the past 15 years.

There are 1 500 doctors in the CareCross network around the country.

DomestiCare costs R170 a month. For an additional R25 a month, employers can buy DomestiCare Plus, which offers their employees basic optometry and dentistry benefits through the CareCross network.

DomestiCare Plus covers fillings, extractions, dental X-rays, cleaning and polishing. The optical benefit covers an eye test and a frame from a specified selection, with either white standard mono or bifocal lenses, once every 24 months.

There is a six-month waiting period for the optical and dentistry benefits.

DomestiCare excludes cover for chronic medicines and ongoing conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, because domestic workers can generally obtain medication from state pharmacies and including them would have added significantly to the cost of the product. Dr Reinder Nauta, managing director of CareCross Health, says chronic medicines may be added later, depending on the demand for the inclusion of these medicines.

Specialist consultations are also not covered by DomestiCare, and if your domestic worker has to see a specialist, a CareCross doctor will refer him or her to a specialist at a state hospital.

Employers can obtain the cover for their workers cheaper by paying upfront for six months or a year.

You can take out cover for any domestic workers employed in your private household, including drivers/chauffeurs, housekeepers, cooks/chefs, gardeners, child minders (including drivers of children), or those who look after the sick, aged or disabled in private homes.

Employers must purchase the product online at www.domesticare.co.za