Is It Worthwhile Having a Hospital Plan?
South Africans have access to world class medical services. Even the poorest of the poor have the right to quality treatment at public health facilities.
There are many different medical aid schemes that offer excellent cover for day-to-day medical expenses and in-hospital treatment.
The industry is well regulated and no medical scheme can afford to contravene the various laws that regulate these non-profit companies. This provides consumers with peace of mind that their benefits will be available when they need them most.
South African public health system
Although the South African public health system is superior to that offered by many other countries, including some first world countries, the fact remains that the system is cumbersome and often inconvenient.
Those that can afford it normally opt for private medical cover. However, comprehensive medical cover can be very expensive and not everybody can afford it.
Luckily, all medical schemes also offer hospital plans. These plans are specially designed to make provision for in-hospital treatment. They do not cover day-to-day medical expenses and the benefits are limited.
But is it worth it then?
The cost of treatment in a private hospital can be prohibitive. As a matter of fact, very few South Africans are able to afford such care from their own pockets.
Even the most rudimentary surgical procedures can cost tens of thousands of rand and it is not uncommon to pay hundreds of thousands of rand for procedures such as bypass operations. Anybody that wonders if it is worth paying for hospital cover should ask himself the following questions:
- In case of an accident or medical emergency, do I want to be treated in the hospital of my choice and do I want to decide on the specialist?When a life is on the line, loved ones surely want the injured or ill family member to receive the very best care that money can buy. In public hospitals patients have to accept the medical practitioner assigned to them.
- Do I want to be treated in a private hospital? Private hospitals offer better service and a great deal more comfort than that offered by public hospitals. Private hospitals often also have much better equipment and facilities.
- Do I want to make sure that my family will receive only the very best care in cases of emergency? Public facilities operate on a first-come-first served basis. Members of medical schemes can expect prompt attention, especially in cases of emergency.
If any of the above questions were answered with a “yes” then a hospital plan is imperative. Those dependent upon the public health system have no control regarding the facility where they are admitted and they are not able to choose the medical expert that will be treating them. Public facilities often also entail long waiting periods.
Accidents happen and emergencies occur. Fit, young, healthy people and those that simply cannot afford comprehensive medical cover should seriously consider a hospital plan. There are many different plans available and consumers should carefully study the benefits in comparison with the price before making a final decision. The cost of such a plan should not be seen as an expense but rather as insurance when the very best medical treatment becomes the most important consideration.