Article provided by Medshield
For many South Africans the idea of paying a hefty hospital bill is enough to make them run for the hills. Private healthcare in the country is costly, but fortunately, there are plenty of medical aid schemes to choose from. The type of benefits one receives for these plans, however, are not all equal (even if they are in the same monthly contribution category). While a comparison of these schemes and plans sounds simple enough – it really isn’t. There is a lot of fine print and jargon to sort through before one makes any final decisions, but we are here to make the process as simple as possible for you.
Understand basic medical aid terminology first
Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs), scheme tariffs, and sub-limits are just a few examples of phrases most people don’t understand. Not understanding these common terms means that your medical aid comparison won’t be accurate. It also means that you might be confused in the future about what precisely your scheme covers and what you have to pay out of your pocket. To avoid this confusion, it will pay in the long run to do a quick internet search and familiarise yourself with the terminology. Most medical schemes have these glossaries readily available on their websites.
Work from your budget
Many individuals don’t know how much they should be spending on their monthly contributions. It’s a good idea to keep these contributions to around 10% or less of your monthly income. It is always wisest, however, to provide yourself with the best you can afford. This might mean cutting back on a few nice-to-haves each month to ensure more comprehensive cover – the benefit is that you will have peace of mind when it comes to any healthcare emergencies in future.
Take an honest look at your health status
Your health is not just how you feel today, it encompasses past conditions and treatments, any future complications you foresee, as well as hereditary conditions. Being young and fit is no guarantee of superb health forever. Consider the biggest risks to your health and illnesses that run in your family. Simply driving on the road often significantly increases one’s chances of having an accident – so it’s best to be sure you are covered for such scenarios. Being honest about your health and what care you might need in future gives you a better chance at an accurate medical aid comparison.
Some circumstances warrant comprehensive cover
While the young and healthy might fare well with hospital plans, there are instances where comprehensive cover is a better idea. Patients with chronic conditions, for example, can save quite a lot on out-of-pocket payments when it comes to day-to-day expenses. Parents with younger children might also find that comprehensive cover comes in handy for all those doctor and dentist check-ups, vaccinations, and medications.