Protea Medical Aid – Your Student Friendly Medical Plan
The Protea Medical Aid Society started in 1969 . Over the years developed a tailor made medical scheme. It caters to the needs of overseas students studying in South Africa. Since then Protea health care has fallen under the umbrella of Suremed Health which still aims to satisfy the needs of students from abroad.
What is medical aid?
People often confuse a medical aid such as Protea and health insurance. It is essential that you to understand the difference between the two.
Protea Medical Aid as a medical aid scheme must by law provide cover for all emergency conditions. It also covers a limited set of 270 medical conditions and 26 chronic conditions. These include Asthma and Bipolar Mood Disorder. This requirement is not applicable to providers of health insurance.
As a member of a medical scheme such as Protea Medical Aid or Discovery medical aid for example, should you ever be hospitalised, the cost of your stay and treatment will generally be paid to the hospital by the provider of the medical aid scheme. Health insurance differs in that by only having health insurance, you yourself need to settle the costs. The insurance provider will reimburse you for these costs up to the limit specified in the policy.
You may however, find that your medical costs have exceeded the amount you receive from your medical insurance provider. Medical treatment in South Africa is becoming expensive and should your health insurance not cover the full amount of your medical expenses, you may find yourself in a difficult financial situation.
By taking out Protea Medical Aid you are ensuring that you will not face such a stressful situation. An extra advantage of having a medical plan such as the Protea Medical Aid is that your contributions towards your medical aid scheme are tax deductible which is not the case for health insurance schemes.
Medical aids in South Africa
There are over eighty-five medical aid funds currently in South Africa of which Protea Medical Aidis one, All medical aid schemes fall under the supervision of the Council for Medical Aid Schemes. Some of the best are GEMS medical aid, Genesis medical aid, Liberty medical aid, and Momentum medical aid to name just a few. Many medical schemes are for a specific market in the way that Protea Medical Aid caters to the student market. Others such as Bestmed aim to cater for all people from all walks of life.
Affordable medical aid
The large medical aid providers like Discovery Health are able to offer affordable medical aid. This is due to their size and volume of clients which enables them to cut down on their costs.
However, note that the cheapest medical aid does not necessarily mean it is the best scheme for you. For instance if you have a long history of heart problems in your family; taking out the cheapest plan possible, which may only cover a very limited amount of the costs should you develop heart problems, is not going to be cost effective in the long term.
Protea Medical Aid can be considered an affordable medical aid. Being designed specifically for students who are generally young, the range of benefits on offer from Protea Medical Ai dis reduced. The benefits on offer are those which are most likely to be needed by a younger person as can be seen below.
What Protea medical aid offers
The Protea healthcare scheme as it was formerly known, offers to students the following benefits:
• A Health Plan that meets Government requirements for international students studying in South Africa.
• Unlimited Private Hospital cover.
• 24-hour Trauma services.
• Unlimited cover for General Practitioner visits.
• Unlimited cover for medicines in terms of the Plan’s medicine list.
• Cover for Medical Specialists
• Spectacles or Contact Lenses Cover
• Cover for Dental care