Medical aid rates in South Africa differ significantly among the medical aid scheme, your plan of choice and services covered by the scheme. Medical aid cover may start from as little as R400 for a single person providing in-hospital cover with a chronic medicine benefit to R3000 per adult member on the upper level plans. Medical aid prices may seem exorbitant in some instances but if you weigh out your benefits should your require medical care, the monthly premium is minimal in comparison.
Most employers in South Africa subsidize medical aid premiums for their employees.Some employers will only provide added benefit if you join a specific medical aid for your industry or the company’s preferred provider. Your employer may cover between 50% and 66% of your monthly contribution and it is best to opt for the medical aid cover through your employer.
However if you are paying for your medical aid without assistance from your employer, you can opt for an “open” scheme. An open medical aid scheme means that any person can join the medical aid and is not industry or company specific.
Open and Closed Medical Aids
Some of the larger open medical aid schemes include Discovery Health, Bonitas, Spectramed, Fed Health and Oxygen (Old Mutual). There are many other open medical aid schemes in South Africa offering very competitive rates. These rates may differ based on the plan you choose allowing you access to different levels of medical services. Certain medical aids provide extensive cover even for non-essential services such as lasik eye surgery as well as additional perks such as gym membership to ensure you stay healthy.
A “closed” or restricted medical aid membership is solely for members of a specific sector if industry like GEMS for government employees or Polmed for the police services. The rates offered by closed medical aids may at times seem extremely competitive for the medical services being provided but it must be remembered that a closed medical aid is significantly subsidized by the employer and associated players in that sector of industry. These medical aids are not open for membership to the general public.
Budget Medical Aid Plans
Recently, most open medical aids have started offering lower end plans whereby an entire family can be provided with medical cover for a few hundred rands a month. These lower end, budget plans may not offer extensive medical services as the upper plans but you can rest assured that your basic medical needs are catered for. Usually these budget plans will only allow you to visit certain service providers, clinic or hospital networks as stipulated by the medical scheme.
When choosing a medical aid in South Africa, it is important to weigh out your medical needs and that of your family, consider the type of medical cover that you would require and any medical aid exclusions due to pre-existing conditions. Medical aid rates in South Africa are fairly reasonable considering the quality of private medical services. Choosing a cheaper medical aid plan due to price considerations may often leave you frustrated and in despair when you require medical care.