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Choosing a Medical Aid in South Africa


 

  

  

Is It Worthwhile Having a Hospital Plan?  

South Africans are spoilt for choice when it comes to excellence in health care. Even the public health system compares very well when placed alongside the services offered in some developed countries such as the United Kingdom and even the United States.

Is it Worthwhile Having a Hospital PlanHowever, a large percentage of the South African population lives on or under the breadline and is complete dependent upon the public health system. The system consequently experiences immense pressure to provide adequate services while they are under-funded and without enough resources.  

Most people find the public health system cumbersome. It is not possible to make fixed appointments with specific service providers or specialists. There are often long waiting periods and the treatments and medication available are limited to approved lists.  

For those that can afford it, private health care is a better option. It is more convenient, the facilities are more advanced and it is possible to select a specialist or facility that is both convenient and preferred. However, private medical care in South Africa is extremely expensive and very few people are able to afford it from their private cash reserves. The answer is to become a member of one of the many excellent medical aid schemes in the country. Sadly, even this option is rather pricey. Comprehensive medical aid plans are costly and not everybody can afford it. 

Luckily, there is an alternative: hospital plans. These plans do not make provision for day-to-day medical expenses. They rather provide cover for the cost of in-hospital treatment. There are a few hospital plans that offer limited cover for certain out-of-hospital medical expenses, but it is the cost of hospital treatment that makes these plans so attractive to many people.  

Is it worth it to have only a hospital plan? 

One of the worst assumptions you can possibly make is to think that you will not need emergency treatment or surgery or that you will not contract a dread disease that will require prolonged and expensive hospital treatment. Nobody can assume that they are immune to medical calamities. It happens at the most unexpected time and it can happen to anybody. And when this happens you will surely want the very best treatment you can possibly get. A hospital plan can make sure that this is indeed the case. So, if you are wondering whether a hospital plan is worth the cost, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Can I afford tens, or even hundreds of thousands of rand – no, make that millions of rand - that will be necessary to undergo surgical treatment in a private hospital?
  • If there is an emergency or accident, do I want to be able to receive treatment at the best facility possible?
  • In cases of emergency, do I want efficient road or air transport to the best possible care facility?
  • Do I want to be able to select the specialist that will be treating me as opposed to accepting whoever is assigned to my case?
  • Do I want my specific case to receive the highest possible priority as opposed to a first-come-first served basis in public health care facilities?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions you can be sure that it is definitely worth it to consider a hospital plan. Your health is your most important asset. You need to take steps to make sure that you will be in excellent hands when you need medical help.

 © Medical Aid Plan