Providing medical aid cover for your family is an essential undertaking that does not come cheap. Medical aids in South Africa can be pricey to say the least but without medical cover, you will be at the mercy of the understaffed and overworked public health sector. Family medical aid usually involves the main member along with an adult dependent and one or more child dependents. At times other dependents, like a grandparent, may also be added to the medical aid cover.
Affordable Family Medical Aid
The extent of your medical aid cover depends on your budget. If you are prepared to pay more, then you can access comprehensive medical cover. But if you are on a restricted budget, then the medical aid you can afford will probably have limited benefits. Work out your budget, assess your needs and then compare medical aids until you can find an affordable medical aid plan that suits you and your family. While a hospital medical plan was sufficient for you when you were single, it may not be practical if you have little kids or elderly dependents on your medical aid. Affordability depends on careful planning and wise choices without getting carried away by the fancy extras.
Cheap Family Medical Aid
Times are tough and everybody is trying to cut back on expenses. Downsizing your medical aid though may be risky to say the least. With a medical aid, you get what you pay for. If you opt for cheap medical aid cover, then you will get less benefits and once those medical bills start piling up, don’t be surprised if you have to start shelling out cash from your pocket. However if a cheap medical aid is all that you can afford, then you should reassess your needs and consider a hospital medical plan.
While hospitals plans are not the best option for the growing family, it is your in-hospital costs that can hurt you financially so you should have good cover for these services. Instead of being cheap, rather be wise and speak to your medical aid about the different options available. Every medical aid has a range of plans from the cheaper options to the more expensive plans.
Family Medical Aid Costs
Most medical aids will charge the main member the highest rate, followed by a slight lower rate for the next adult dependent (like your spouse) and significantly low rates for each child on the medical aid. A main member may pay from R300 to R2,500 while children may cost you from R150 to R1,500 per child (2010). This just depends on the medical scheme and the type of cover that they are offering.
Some schemes will not charge you for more than two kids or allow you to have children on for free until a certain age. By taking into account all these perks, you may find that a comprehensive family medical aid can be affordable without having to switch to cheap cover.
Family Medical Aid vs Family Savings
Many South Africans opt to save money every month to cover medical expenses rather than opting for a medical aid. In most cases, this will not work should an emergency arise. Unless your savings are substantial by everyday standards, most in-hospital procedures will quickly use up any cash in your hand. It is important to remember that a heart bypass surgery can cost between R100,000 to R150,000 and other procedures are also pricey. Trying to cut back on a family medical aid to pay for medical expenses from your pocket can be expensive, especially if you entire family has to be admitted to a hospital at the same time like in the event of a car accident.
The important point to always remember is that there is no cover like medical aid cover. Don’t buy hospital cash back plans and other insurance policies in the belief that you have medical cover equivalent to a medical aid. South African medical aid cover is unique and superior to private health insurance available in developed countries. While it may be expensive, family medical aid will give you the peace of mind in knowing that your family’s health needs are catered for in most instances.