With the rising cost of medical treatment, from a simple doctor’s
consultation to the pharmaceutical medicine they prescribe, more and
more South African families are choosing to suffer through whatever
minor illness they may have rather than fork out the large amount of
money that is required for treatment. In many cases, however, the
illness or trauma may be so severe that treatment becomes a
necessity rather than a choice, and then the family have the
additional stress of a financial burden added to the emotional
stress experienced due to a sick or injured loved one.
This is why a medical aid or other such medical insurance policy is
becoming increasingly vital as a stop gap, a buffer to fall back on
should worse come to worse and you or an immediate family member
find you in dire need of medical care.
With this in mind, it is even more telling that although South
Africa has around 105
medical aid schemes on offer to individuals or
businesses, it was estimated, in 2009, that less than 17% of South
Africans were actually a part of one. We all know the big names in
the medical aid insurance world, such as Discovery Health, Fedhealth,
Momentum, Bonitas Liberty Life, Oxygen and Key Health among many
we are not lucky enough to work within a company or other business
that offers their own private medical aid for all employees, the
decision to join one is left entirely up to us, as the consumer
public. In cases like these, which, it is clear, applies to the
vast majority of South Africans, many people think that they will
lose out on a portion of their salary each month, as the medical aid
deductions get taken off their gross salary, usually after tax.
Thus, the short term loss of a portion of their salary is enough to
make many people feel that medical aid schemes are just too
expensive to maintain month after month.
this way, a medical aid is very much like any other insurance
policy, in that it provides financial coverage to its holders in the
event of a medical emergency or any kind of illness. It is thus not
something that will be used month after month, but is needed for
that all important ‘just in case’ moment. Medical aids are not just
for emergencies, though, for most can also be used to cover for
dental work and prescription spectacles, among other benefits.
Therefore, when signing on, or renewing any medical aid, it becomes
important for you to be aware of all the facts:
understand just exactly what it is that you are paying for in your
deductible every month and what this entitles you to in terms of
health coverage, doctor’s fees and medicines, just so that you
understand exactly what you are getting for you hard-earned money.
Choosing A Medical Aid
So how do you
choose a medical scheme or hospital plan, a specific option
of the scheme, which benefits to include or exclude?
In this ever-changing environment, you need the services and
advice of an independent intermediary. Someone who
doesn't only have the interests of a specific medical scheme
at heart, but one who can guide you to ensure your needs is
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