Certain medical aids only cater for professionals and are therefore restricted schemes. This means it is not open to the general public and there are certain criteria that an applicant has to meet in order to qualify for membership. With medical aids for professionals, the criteria almost always involves having a recognized degree from a reputable tertiary institution. Some of these medical aids will accept a graduate from any field, while others are restricted only to professionals working in certain sectors of industry.
Professional Medical Aid Benefits
The advantage of joining a restricted medical aid is that these schemes often provide better benefits at lower prices. With medical aids for professionals, some of these benefits may even include cover beyond what is being offered by most other schemes, like accepting new members who are already pregnant (Medical Aid for Pregnant Women). This however varies among medical aids.
Medical aids for professionals are able to provide better benefits at lower prices because these schemes cater for a select clientele. Often the members are considered lower risk for various reasons. Medical aids adopting this approach to membership are not the only financial service providers to do so. Many insurance providers adopt a similar approach when deciding upon insurance premiums for new members of different age groups and educational levels.
There are many restricted (closed) medical aid schemes catering only for certain sectors industry and select groups. Look at the List of Medical Aids for more information.
However, medical aids have to offer the same plan for the same price to every new applicant, irrespective of medical history. There may be certain exclusions for a 3 month to 1 year period but ultimately the benefits are the same. Late joiners, those who are 35 years and over, may pay a slight penalty fee on top of the monthly contributions if the member was not on a medical aid previously. This however, is the limit to how a scheme can alter its contributions on an individual basis.
With a medical aid only for professionals, the scheme can control who can join the medical aid and therefore limit its risk.
Costs of a Professional Medical Aid
The costs may vary among these restricted medical aids but if a person qualifies to be a member, the cost of each plan stays the same irrespective of individual factors. The only fluctuation in the medical aid price may depend on whether the new member is over 35 years and has been a medical aid member previously or not.
While restricted medical aids tend to charge lower rates and offer more benefits, this may not always be the case. Thoroughly examining the benefits prospectus is crucial because the figures may initially seem appealing but once you delve into the actual benefits, it may not be all that attractive. Certain medical aids may also be partly subsidized by a common association or body governing a certain sector of industry. This helps to reduce the monthly benefits but only guarantees a member this cheaper cover as long as he or she remains within the industry.
Plans on a Professional Medical Aid
Medical aids catering only for professionals have similar plan options to other schemes from comprehensive cover at premium rates to more cost effective medical aid hospital plans. While these medical aids may suit self-employed professionals who are entirely funding the premiums, those working in industry may find that their employer will not subsidise the monthly contributions if there is an established company medical aid.
The information in this article does not pertain to any specific medical aid. Always speak to an accredited medical aid broker or directly with the scheme for further details.