How To Choose The Best Possible Medical Aid
The cost of private medical care in South Africa can be horrendous. A simple consultation with a general practitioner can easily cost four hundred Rand. This fee does not cover any medication.
In addition, the system requires sick people to seek referrals from general practitioners before the services of specialists can be obtained. Hospitalization is a major expense and some procedures and treatments can cost hundreds of thousands of Rand.
Few people can afford to fund medical treatment from their own purses. If they do not want to be subjected to the many problems and shortcomings of the public health system, they have to be members of a medical scheme.
But how does one go about choosing the best medical care plan?
There is no best medical scheme plan, period. There are numerous factors that need to be taken intyo consideration. What is perfect for one family would not suit another family. The following issues should be taken into consideration when considering the many plans that are offered by the many medical schemes in South Africa:
- First decide upon the amount that can realistically be afforded. Many people say that they cannot afford comprehensive medical cover yet they can afford yearly holidays, new cars every few years, luxuries such as gym memberships and expensive toys. It is vital to realize that a medical calamity can completely change the life of a family. It is vital to make proper medical cover a priority and to realize that other lifestyle enhancements will become as dust when a serious disease or an accident strikes.
- Next, consider a comprehensive medical assessment for the entire family. The money thus spent is worth every penny. The results will provide a very good indication of potential problems and the susceptibility of members of the family to certain conditions. This information can be invaluable in selecting a suitable plan.
- Deal only with reputable medical schemes. Companies such as Discovery Health, Sanlam and Old Mutual have a long history of reliable client service and they have the financial strength to honour their commitments to their members.
- It may be a good idea to engage the services of a medical aid broker. These professionals are not bound to a specific company and they know the industry intimately. They are often able to help clients to select the plan that are best suited to their unique needs.
- Get a number of quotations from various service providers but be very careful to compare apples with apples. The benefits offered by the different plans are not the same. It is vital to make sure that the plan under consideration will actually fulfil the needs of the family. One of the biggest mistakes is to make a decision based purely on the price of the plan.
- It is a good idea to select a plan that can be adapted as circumstances change.
Is it important to have medical cover?
Yes. South Africa has an excellent public health sector but many people will not be able to abide by the rigid conditions or the long waiting periods that are common at most of South Africa’s academic hospitals. It is onerous to obtain referrals to specialist services and there are often many steps to specialist treatment.