What to do about medical aid in 2021
With NHI supposedly coming to provide access to quality health care for all South Africans, one has to wonder what to do about medical aid in 2021.
Add to that the concerns around COVID-19 and the threat of variants, and one can become bewildered as regards to where to turn to for the health cover you need.
Are you getting maximum mileage from your medical aid?
Some people feel medical aids have become way too complicated. They feel that they take more than they give and that one shouldn’t have to still have medical gap cover over and above high premiums.
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Because of COVID-19, many people who have had their work hours reduced are even looking to downscale. The Council for Medical Schemes has warned all the various medical schemes that they may well see a drop in membership numbers as South Africans have to face lower incomes.
There are those who have been totally rattled because of the virus and who are looking to join a medical aid for the first time.
Limited increases for medical schemes
It is no secret that medical aid – whether comprehensive plans or even medical aid hospital plans – are going to cost a pretty penny. October is also the month when most medical aids announce their new rates for the next year.
Even though the Council of Medical Schemes has asked medical schemes to limit their increases this year, the lower amount will still not bring much relief. If you’re a family of four, for a comprehensive plan for the four of you, you can be looking at some plans between R15 000 and R20 000 a month.
Although nobody is looking at the NHI with too much positivity, with exorbitant premiums like this for medical aid, affordable healthcare as a fundamental human right seems like a godsend.
There are ways to stretch your benefits
For 2021, there are just so many things to consider when deciding on whether medical aid is going to work for you or not. After all, with the future so precariously uncertain, will you even have a job?
If you’re fortunate to have a job in 2021 as well as medical aid, there are ways to stretch your benefits –
• Where possible, make use of network doctors instead of choosing your own doctor.
• Also, make use of listed medicine so as to avoid co-payments.
• Generic medicines can be as good as any other, so use them rather than the patented one, as you can save quite a bit.
• If you’re ill, first visit your regular doctor before resorting to a specialist as the problem can most times be sorted at your regular doctor who charges less.
Another technique is to take out a gap cover policy to limit your medical spend. A policy will eliminate medical aid co-payments.
What are you going to be doing about medical aid in 2021?
The last year has been a costly one in terms of medical expenses. Whoever you are, medical cover is going to need deep, serious research.
Health is one of the most sought-after, precious gifts there are, but it is denied many. What are you going to do to look after your health?
Know exactly what you’re paying for
Start early, check out the different medical schemes and plans and make sure you understand the benefits, the limitations and the costs.
The new year, 2021, is going to be a rough ride for us all, and one way or the other we need to be well informed about our health to make the right decisions.