Medical Aid Plan - Don't Cancel Your Medical Aid

Medical Aid – not something you should just cancel

Millions of South Africans are facing financial hardship this year because of the coronavirus and because of high medical costs. They may be planning to cancel their medical scheme membership. That would be a mistake.

Many people are having to cash in their retirement savings and all their other savings as well, not to mention cancel their medical aid with its high premiums to keep themselves somewhat afloat during difficult days. 

Payment options rather than cancelling 

Think twice about just willy nilly cancelling your medical aid though. Even if you’re looking for some kind of temporary relief until you recover from your financial setback, you have to remember that if you cancel a policy, it could mean all the bother of it being re-underwritten when you join up again.  

Also, you’ll need to consider other terms and conditions applicable to those reinstating their medical aid cover if you cancel, such as waiting periods as well as late-joiner penalties. 

If you do opt to downscale and go for a cheaper option, familiarise yourself with all the terms and conditions related to this. What is highly recommended however, is calling up your medical aid and seeing about payment options first before cancelling. 

To get your medical aid plan quote by email Click Here 

The pandemic Highlights the Need for Quality health care 

Older people, as well as those with comorbidities, are those at risk. C  omorbidities are those diseases or disorders found in the same person. These can be diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, cancer, dementia, heart disease and others. 

According to the health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, it has been estimated that some 30% of Bonitas’s members are at risk of contracting Covid-19 because of the number of people with comorbidities.  

Do Not Cancel Your Medical Aid. Alternatives Here

Health crises pop up when you least expect them 

There is often a bitter pill to swallow when you cancel your medical aid. How often doesn’t it happen that a host of health crises crop up soon after you’ve cancelled your medical aid? You soon begin to lose touch with the full tally of your medical bills. 

Thankfully, South African medical schemes have been encouraged to assist battling members who don’t have the financial means to pay their monthly contributions because of a loss of income.  

In South Africa, medical scheme regulator which is the Council of Medical Schemes  is encouraging medical schemes to consider giving their members a break of 3 months and to also consider covering all the costs involved with COVID-19.  

At first medical schemes weren’t obliged to pay for the tests, but a draft amendment has been lodged to the Prescribed Minimum Benefit regulations to cover the costs as part of the PMB package. 

What the medical schemes have to say 

Bestmed   

Bestmed is one of South Africa’s leading medical aids. Their marketing and communications manager says that while they can offer members relief alternatives and while their relief alternatives are aligned with the Council of Medical Schemes, they can’t offer their members any kind of members payment holidays of 3 months  as suggested by the CMS. 

Bestmed is an essential service provider which means that they offer different payment options to support members unable to pay their premiums during lockdown. This relief is aligned with what the CMS or Council for Medical Schemes has laid out.  

Bestmed offer a welcome relief option for paying, allowing members to downgrade to a more affordable medical aid plan,  so long as their savings account isn’t overspent. Members will still benefit from the maternity care programme as well as the preventive care benefits offered with all the options. 

The medical scheme has also received approval from the CMS to offer those members who qualify, the option to pay their monthly premiums from their savings. So in other words, those who qualify will be able to pay Mays to December s2020s contributions from these savings.  

It doesn’t matter what benefit option you have, Bestmed says that members will be reimbursed when they have Covid-19 diagnostic tests – if certain criteria is adhered to - 

·           all positive COVID-19 tests are paid as a PMB – Prescribed Minimum Benefits 

·           symptomatic members going for a test will have their claim paid from the schemes risk-benefit regardless of the result of the test 

·           asymptomatic members not referred for a test will have their claim paid from their savings or day-to-day benefits.   

Remaining a member of Bestmed will ensure that you avoid all these health care expenses that so many are facing without medical aid.  

Bestmed is also seen as a support for its members in advising them to take precautionary measures during the pandemic. By purchasing hand sanitisers at registered pharmacies, members will be able to submit their cash receipts for a refund. 

Bestmed also has the funds to assist members of the community who are battling during the lockdown. Bestmed Road Rangers as an example, have assisted with packing and delivering food parcels to those in need.  

Their brand promise is ‘Personally Yours’ and the scheme has helped members of the community by having some of their employees volunteering to contribute towards a relief fund.  

Momentum   

A Momentum Health Solutions spokesperson said that in a health crisis such as COVID-19, it is important not to cancel health care cover. 

This is because this country hasn’t yet reached the peak of infection. Also, the cost of medical treatments for any disease is so exorbitant, that the only way to pay your bills would be to sell your home, jewellery and cars, and then it may still not be enough.  

Momentum Medical Scheme has reassuredits members that coronavirus is covered.   

Discovery Health 

Head of research & development for Discovery Health also says that one should hold onto your original reasons as to why you first joined a medical aid.  

The idea is inevitably to reduce the financial burden of medical treatment and to be able to access private health care. If you have a chronic condition, unless you have scored with power ball and become super-rich overnight, how will you continue to pay for all your ongoing treatment?  

This COVID-19 pandemic has also made it all the more difficult to get private health care and everything possible should be done to hold on to your membership, even if it means taking a lesser plan.   

Bonitas   

Principal officer of Bonitas Medical Fund has looked at ways the fund can assist its members, stating that it’s not the time to cancel your medical aid.  

The medical aid says that the pandemic reiterates the need for quality health care. Their advice therefore is to look very carefully at both your needs and your budget. If you have a chronic condition, it is important to think twice before cancelling, and the popular medical aid says that buying down is a better option and a key consideration.  

They suggest that struggling South Africans look at network options as this can help with some savings. Their Select Plans, they say, are priced 15% cheaper than non-network options. 

As already suggested, the CMS has been specific in terms of what medical aids can and can’t do and Bonitas went ahead and applied for a concession to provide some kind of relief to their members.

They have invited all their members who require relief to contact them at covidindiv@bonitas.co.za so that they can look at each request.

Bonitas is appealing to their members not to cancel without a lot of thought as those who resign from the fund immediately give up access to quality health care benefits.  

If a member cancels their medical aid, then as already mentioned, they stand to be once again subjected to underwriting when they rejoin. 

Looking at different ‘survival’ options 

The Covid-19 pandemic has placed a lot of financial pressure on South Africans and if you have lost your job or are only receiving half a salary, you might well be looking at ways of getting rid of ‘payments’ so that you could have more money to spend on food and surviving.  

There are financial planners we would advise that medical aid plans shouldn’t be cancelled so long as you are receiving a salary. Before you think of cancelling your medical aid, rather set aside time to speak to a consultant at your medical aid or to a trusted financial adviser who can help discuss some of the temporary relief strategies they have in place. 

Medical aids understand that many members will be seriously considering cancelling their membership because of the terrible financial pressures from COVID-19.  There are alternatives for members however, before making the drastic decision to cancel your medical scheme membership.  

These alternatives may well differ between the different schemesand it is advised that member know precisely what they were covered for, making sure that any plan they were going to make for the future would be the best solution for the way things are now.

Medical Aid – Your ticket of Hope 

South Africa is a dangerous country to live in, and between road accident deaths, hijackings, home invasions, murders and stress which contributes greatly to a compromised immune system, we now have to contend with the possibility of death by means of the coronavirus.

Count yourself lucky if you see old age in a country like South Africa, and to increase these chances, stay on your medical aid, as it’s your ticket of hope to escaping death in South Africa.

 

COMPLETE THIS FORM TO GET YOUR MEDICAL AID QUOTES!

Medical Aid QuoteNOTES:

Your medical aid quote will include options to suit your pocket. Please ensure that the cover you select is exactly what you need and that you understand exactly what insurance you are buying. Do not hesitate to ask questions about the medical aid or hospital cover you choose.