Oncology Benefits In and Out of Hospital
Hearing that you have cancer and need cancer treatment can strike so much fear in your heart. We all know someone who has been affected with cancer – the pain, suffering and loss. There are some people who are so frightened of cancer’s connotations that they even avoid visiting the doctor for a diagnosis until their symptoms become unbearable. Radiation, chemotherapy and surgery are some of the therapies to treat cancer, and for many the side effects of these are worse than the cancer itself.
Chronic stress, poor diet and environmental toxins are just come of the conditions we have that allow cancers to grow. Its devastating to hear you have cancer with a medical aid, but without one, the costs for cancer treatment are so prohibitive, it’s like the end of the world.
Nobody can Afford to Get Cancer
Do you know that between May 2012 and April 2013, the total spend for oncology claimants on Discovery Health’s medical aid was R2,298bn. Many South Africans don’t have medical aid and they have to rely on public clinics and hospitals. Noelene Kotschan, founder and director of Pink Drive, says that in private care, breast cancer treatment could cost you between R750 000 and R1.5-million, depending on the different treatments required. Medical aid is the only way to afford the care that you need.
Most Medical Aids offer Oncology Benefits
Most of the South African medical aids offer an oncology benefit on the more comprehensive schemes. It is important to know if your medical aid includes an oncology benefit or if you will require extra cover.
If your type of cancer isn’t listed and your oncology benefits run out, the medical aid will pay for treatments but there will be a co-payment for the treatment. If your cancer qualifies as a PMB, your medical aid will pay for all your doctor consultations, specialised radiology, radiation, pathology, chemotherapy and surgery, and in this instance, your medical aid scheme may make it that you only use certain health care providers.
Discovery Health, once you are registered on the Oncology Programme, covers the first R200 000 or R400 000 of your approved cancer treatment over a 12month cycle up to the Discovery Health Rate.
Fedhealth Medical Aid offers their Oncology Disease Management Programme and with this programme you get the following benefits –
● coverage for chemotherapy, radiotherapy and associated medicine. If you suffer with depression because of your cancer or you develop long-term conditions because of your chemotherapy for instance, you will be funded from another benefit such as the Savings Account
● access to the Independent Clinical Oncology Network (ICON), an organisation which includes 75% of all practicing oncologists in South Africa.
● they cover pathology, radiology and specialised radiology, stoma therapy, PET scans, terminal care private nursing, surgery and hospitalisation
Each medical aid in South Africa offers different cancer treatment benefits. When you choose a plan, make sure you are aware of the oncology benefits and various levels of treatment covered. This is because many medical schemes place an annual limit on the amount that can be spent on oncology and some even exclude some treatments.
It is up to you to find out all you can and if your particular medical aid will pay for the advanced treatments required with some cancers.