How to join medical schemes
The variety of medical aids in South Africa is vast and this makes it a daunting task for anyone looking for health insurance. The process of becoming a member is fairly simple but there are hard decisions that need to be made before you can join a medical scheme.
Deciding the correct medical aid
Firstly, you need to decide which medical aid is the right one for you and to do this you have to consider the following points:
- The state of your health and, if applicable, that of your dependants
- Your financial position
- Benefits that the hospital plan or medical aid can offer
Choosing a medical scheme
The type of health insurance that you choose is dependent in part on you current health situation but also on your future needs, particularly if you plan to start a family. Your family’s medical history will also affect your decision.
The biggest influencing factor when it comes to choosing a medical scheme is finance. The monthly contributions are expensive, particularly if you have a big family, and so your household income will generally determine which type of hospital cover you get.
Younger, healthier individuals tend to choose more affordable medical options like hospital plans over medical aids as their costs are significantly lower and they infrequently have to see a doctor or go to hospital.
Whatever your financial situation, get the best medical plan that you can afford.
Finding the best medical aids
To compare the benefits and services of different medical aids, you can request that the companies send you information packs so that you can find the best fit for you and your family.
If you need further help then you can enlist the services of an independent broker or healthcare consultant. They are impartial and will help you choose the scheme that is most beneficial to you.
How to join medical schemes
Step 1: Documentation
Once you’ve settled on the medical cover you want, request the relevant documentation from the company and fill in the application form. Be completely honest as failure to disclose information fully could jeopardise your chance of becoming a member or may result in your membership being cancelled.
Make sure you read all the data thoroughly and understand the terms and conditions before you sign anything.
Step 2: Submit
Return the application with any additional documents and it will be processed by the medical aid company. You’ll be notified if you’ve been accepted but if there are any discrepancies or amendments then you’ll be contacted with the revised conditions.
Step 3: Termination
It’s illegal to belong to two medical aids at the same time, so once you have confirmation from your new medical scheme, you can cancel the old one. Double check the notice period of both companies as these may differ.
Know the start and end dates of the different plans, so that you don’t break the law by having overlapping policies or be caught with no cover because you’re between policies.
Step 4: Activation
Your new medical aid will activate your membership and you’ll be sent a notification of commencement. Expect a welcome pack containing all the particulars of your new medical aid and detailed information about the company and its policies.
Step 5: Benefits
As a paying member you can now make full use of the benefits that your scheme offers.