Why You Are Never Too Young for Medical Aid
Young people that enter their first jobs are normally excited and one of the first things they think about is how they are going to enjoy their new found economic freedom. Unfortunately, vital decisions such as investing in pension plans, savings systems and, most importantly, medical aid is often at the bottom of the list. That is, if these matters are even on the list!
According to Andrew Edwards, Liberty Medical Scheme’s Executive Principal Officer, the very best plan is to join a medical scheme when it is most unlikely that it will be needed. This may sound illogical, but building up a history with the medical scheme will be to immense benefit to the member when it becomes necessary to claim.
JOIN BEFORE YOU ARE 35
If you join a medical aid fund after the age of thirty five you will pay more. If you join later in life, you have another distinct disadvantage: most medical aid funds will not provide cover for re-existing conditions. The fact is simple: the younger you are the cheaper it is and the less the chance is for having a pre-existing condition.
Edwards reiterated that it is vital for young people to choose a medical aid plan that will make provision for their current needs. Such plans can always be upgraded at a later stage. He continued to advise younger people to choose a package that will cover occasional visits to a GP and a wide range of preventive care procedures. The younger a member of a medical scheme is the more likely it is that serious conditions will be diagnosed in time. This will save members money in the long term.
DIAGNOSTICS AND CHRONIC CONDITIONS
Another thing that should be considered by young people is a plan that makes provision for a wide variety of diagnostic tests, such as those for diabetes, heart disease and various cancers. Vaccinations are also important.
Edwards also pointed out that timely screening for chronic conditions such as cholesterol and diabetes can save lives, prolong lives and save a lot of trouble and money in the long term. The earlier a disease is diagnosed the more likely it is that it can be treated and managed successfully. In many plans such preventive screenings are part of the plan and soes not have to be funded from the medical savings plan. This benefit alone should be a major reason for joining a medical scheme at a young age.
STERN WARNING TO THE HEALTHY
Edwards also issued a stern warning: young people that consider themselves healthy and active make a very big mistake if they think that they are saving money by foregoing membership of medical schemes. Anything can happen and once catastrophe strikes it can easily be too late to join a medical aid plan. There are numerous examples of young people, as early as their teens or their early twenties that develop dread diseases or other chronic conditions.
Those that are not covered by comprehensive medical care plans will have no option other than to depend upon the public health system. Regret when it is too late is a common occurrence amongst young people.
It is not only the potential of dread disease that should motivate young people to join medical schemes Statistics show that a high percentage of younger people are involved in accidents that result in expensive medical needs. Emergency operations, intensive care treatment and the cost of specialist and rehabilitation can be prohibitive.
HOSPITAL PLANS V COMPREHENSIVE MEDICAL AID
Edwards said that younger people need to think very carefully about the differences between hospital plans and comprehensive cover. At the very least a hospital plan should be chosen as soon as an income is earned. This will make provision for the extremely high cost of hospitalization. Most medical schemes allow upgrades at a later stage, such as when the family is expanded or when the needs and income of the member change.
Liberty Life offers a wide variety of plans that are designed to meet the needs of just about everybody. It is important to understand that your health is ultimately your biggest and most valuable asset. When disease strikes or when disaster occur, everyone wants the best possible care. This is only possible for members of medical aid schemes. Young people should be realistic and they should understand that they are not immune to disaster, accidents and dread diseases.
* Here is a list of medical aids in South Africa