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Choosing a Medical Aid in South Africa


 

  

  

Hospital Insurance

Many people become confused with the various terms that are used to describe healthcare products. There is hospital insurance, comprehensive cover, health insurance and a variety of other terms.

Best Hospital Insurance AvailableMedical schemes generally offer two distinct types of plans:  

  • Comprehensive cover. Comprehensive plans provide cover for all types of medical expenses, including dentistry and optometry services, amongst others. Members of such plans can claim for visits to the doctor and for medication prescribed by the doctor. Many plans also offer a wide variety of other out-of-hospital benefits such as medical savings plans, gym memberships, free health assessments and many others. The various plans offered by the medical schemes offer wildly differing benefits and potential members need to do thorough research to find the plan that will best suit their needs. These plans can be costly, however.
  • Hospital Insurance. These plans are also called hospital plans. They are much more affordable than comprehensive plans but the benefits offered are limited to in-hospital treatment. Members of these plans must make their own arrangements to pay for day-to-day medical expenses. There is more than one hospital plan that offers limited cover for some out-of-hospital medical care but those benefits are normally severely limited. 

Who should think about joining a hospital plan? 

  • Many young people think that they do not need comprehensive cover because they are healthy and they hardly ever need to visit a doctor. They feel that the cost of comprehensive cover is a waste of money. Yet such people still need to accept the fact that an accident can happen at any time, regardless of the precautions taken. They need to make sure that they will be covered if they need hospital treatment when calamity strikes. Of course, nobody can rest assured that nothing bad will happen to them. Accidents occur and they normally occur at the most unexpected time. IN some cases emergencies may lead to an inability to earn an income or to continue in a specific profession. It only makes sense to make provision for such potentialities.
  • People that cannot afford comprehensive medical cover, even if they want it or need it, should at least make provision for hospitalization. Surgical procedures and in-hospital treatments can be extremely expensive and those that are not covered for such eventualities will have no option other than to rely on the public health system. 

Which are the best plans?

There is no single best plan. Each person should evaluate his or her own needs and budget and make a decision accordingly. It is important to conduct some research and to offer the benefits offered by the various schemes with each other. Here are a few points to consider:

  • It is vital to conduct some research. There are many excellent websites that collect personal information only once and then obtain quotations from several schemes. These websites make it easier to compare apples with apples.
  • It is better to choose a plan that can be upgraded at a later stage when circumstances change.
  • Some plans offer emergency transportation and others do not. The cost of ambulances and air lifts can be prohibitive, so it’s better to choose a plan that covers this type of cost.
  • Many plans offer some out-of-hospital benefits but they are generally extremely limited. Remember that all medical scheme plans, including hospital plans, have to provide cover for conditions on the Minimum Benefits list as prescribed by law.

Hospital insurance is vital for people that cannot afford comprehensive cover. Few people want to resort to the public health system if calamity strikes. Private hospital care is extremely expensive and few people can afford such treatment from their private savings or cash reserves. © Medical Aid Plan