What to Look for in a Medical Aid?

Medical aid cover is essential if you want to quality medical care at a private facility. While there are hundreds of options, with different medical aids in South Africa offering a variety of plans, making the correct choice at the outset is important – both for your budget and your health care needs. The reality is that not everyone can afford the best medical care that money can buy but even cheap medical aid cover will offer sufficient benefits to secure you quality services when you need it the most.

Monthly Medical Aid Costs

Firstly you need to decide upon how much you can afford to spend on a medical aid in a month. If you strain your monthly budget then you may quickly drop your cover or have your benefits suspended. A medical aid should fit in comfortably with your monthly budget but you must be prepared to make some sacrifices if you have no spare cash at the end of the month. A medical aid for a single person can being from less than R500 per month for the cheapest cover to over R2,500 per adult for the top of the range benefits.

Medical Aid Member and Dependents

Secondly you need to consider how many people within your family will be covered by this medical aid.

You don’t need to be married or even cover your own children. Medical aids will accept adult and child dependents, irrespective of whether they are part of your family or not. You as the main member will pay the most, followed by other adult dependents and children. Many medical aids now offer options where you will only have to pay for the first two child dependents on your medical aid and other children are covered for free. If you are looking for a family medical aid, then this is the way to go to save on your monthly medical aid costs.

Medical Cover and Health Benefits

Whether you opt for hospital plan or full medical aid cover, you need to ensure that the plan that you select will cover your needs. In-hospital cover comes with all medical aid plans but it is important to study the fine print. Your medical cover in hospital should extend beyond a million rand a year for it to be sufficient for you and your family. In-hospital cover should also provide benefits for mental health, prosthetics, drug rehabilitation and cancer treatment.

The next benefit to consider in your medical aid cover is the chronic medicine cover. With prescribed minimum benefits, all medical aids in South Africa provide unlimited cover for essential medicines for life-threatening chronic conditions. However, you may develop a chronic condition that does not fall into this category so you should research your options carefully. It is also helpful to know what chronic conditions exist within your extended family as this may provide some indication of what you are at risk of developing. You can speak to your pharmacist about the annual costs for treating a number of chronic conditions and then compare medical aids to ensure that you have adequate cover.

Out-of-Hospital Benefits

If you can afford comprehensive cover, then a medical aid plan with out-of-hospital benefits is the best option. Carefully study the prospectus of each medical aid. While you do want an affordable medical aid, it should also provide benefits for essential medical services. Many medical aids are now going the route of the annual savings limit to cover your out-of-hospital needs. Add up the costs of this comprehensive cover compared to your monthly contributions and look at those medical aids that provide you with unique packages to cover your out-of-hospital benefits above and beyond your annual savings account.

Taking note of these key features when looking for a medical aid will ensure that you make the best decision for you and your family. Medical aid rates and prices in South Africa vary but it is important to remember that you get what you pay for – there is no single scheme that can claim to be the best medical aid.