The Best Medical Aid
The importance of becoming a member of a medical
scheme can simply not be overemphasized. Although South Africa boasts a robust public health system this option is
not always the best.
The public health system is seriously overburdened and patients often have to wait for
long a long time before they are able to obtain specialist treatment. The private health system provides high
quality care but the cost is prohibitive. The only real solution is to become a member of a medical aid in
South Africa. Finding the best medical aid, however, can be a mission.
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There is no such thing as the best or the cheapest or the most reliable medical aid. South
Africans are lucky to have access to several medical schemes that are all reliable, reputable, financially sound
and that boast high levels of customer satisfaction. The best scheme for one person would not necessarily bet the
best for the next person. However, there are a number of factors and tools that can help you to choose the plan
that will best serve your needs and your budget.
- One of the easiest ways in which to compare
schemes is to use the internet. There are several websites that offer excellent comparison tools. These sites
require you to provide relevant personal information only once and they produce several quotations from various
schemes. It is very important to provide as much information as possible. If not, the quotations will not
reflect plans that will best suit your needs.
- All medical aid plans must provide cover for
those conditions on the Prescribed Minimum Benefits list. This list has been drawn up by the Council for
Medical Schemes and all schemes are obliged to cover those conditions, regardless of the plan chose. However,
some plans limit the cover provided and there are degrees of cover in most plans. It is important to find out
exactly what type of treatment will be covered.
- Many schemes require their members to make
use of a specific network of service providers. If they don’t, they are held liable for the cost of treatment.
Some people may not like this idea. It is important to check with the scheme and to find out to which degree
members can choose their own medical service providers.
- Most medical schemes offer hospital plans
that promise full cover for in-hospital treatment. What some neglect to point out is the fact that they will
only pay according to the approved medical aid rates. The reality is that many private hospitals and most
specialists charge far in excess of the approved rates. This means that the member will end up with a sizable
financial liability after hospital treatment.
- The best medical aids, such as the Bonitas
medical aid, Discovery and Momentum, amongst others, offer value-added benefits. This may take the form of free
of discounted gym memberships, free preventive treatment programs, free screens and scans, cash-back bonuses
and free health assessments. It may be a good idea to check whether your scheme has any reward
- Many schemes offer their members flexibility.
It is always a good idea to choose a plan that can be upgraded at a later stage when personal needs change or
when more money is available for more comprehensive cover.
It can be difficult to find the
best medical aid but with patience and a bit of
research everybody is sure to find a plan that will suit their unique needs. © Medical Aid
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