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Why you need to join a medical aid today

Article provided by Medshield

Both 2020 and 2021 will go down in history as uniquely challenging years characterised by the global crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a perfect illustration of just how important membership of a medical scheme is. As an example, a 56-year old person was hospitalised with major complications as a result of the virus. The medical bills amounted to R7.4 million. Luckily this person was a member on a medical aid and all costs were covered. COVID-19 is a prescribed minimum benefit (PMB), and all costs associated with a COVID-19 diagnosis are covered by all medical aid schemes in South Africa – no matter whether you are on a hospital plan or a fully comprehensive plan.

With the economy and the citizens of South Africa suffering under the repeated lockdowns and restrictions to curb the virus, you may think that medical aid is too expensive, but most reputable medical schemes have really affordable entry-level plans. The first question you must ask yourself is what you can afford monthly.

The second important question is whether it is only for you or your dependants as well. Paying R1400 per month for an individual medical aid member is quite affordable. However, what if you have three or more dependants? They all need dental work, eye tests, health screenings, and more. In addition, if you plan to start a family or add onto your family, you know that pre- and post-natal care will be important.  Your membership contribution will thus be higher.

The third question to answer in your search for an affordable medical aid is whether you are currently a member of a scheme or have been in the past year. If you have never been a member, you can expect to pay late joining fees. The older you are and the longer you have not been a member of a medical aid scheme, the heftier the fee can be. As such, join an affordable medical aid sooner rather than later.

Do not wait until you become terminally ill or require extensive surgery before you search for an affordable medical aid. Normally a waiting period applies to pre-existing conditions. This is to protect other members from new members exploiting the medical aid for a short period to cover expensive procedures and then to cancel membership shortly after.

Pay for what you need

If only everything in life was so simple. With medical aids, you can choose a plan that covers in-hospital treatments only. This is perfect if you are young and just want to make provision for the unforeseen to ensure expensive in-hospital treatments can be paid.

The next level is to select a plan that provides basic out-of-hospital coverage and extensive in-hospital coverage. In this way, you only pay for the essentials. If you want comprehensive cover, expect to pay more, but it can still be more affordable than having to pay upfront for doctor visits and expensive procedures.

Some may argue that you can put all your money into a savings account and then will have the money readily available for medical emergencies. No doubt, it is good practice, but how much can you save up in a year? In addition, remember how easy it is to get your hands in your own cookie jar if there is a family weekend or holiday for which you need a bit of extra cash. Not long and your funds for medical emergencies are back to only a few Rands, leaving you in all kinds of trouble if there was an emergency.

The best way to ensure you can get affordable medical aid is to choose an entry-level package, which still enables you to save on the side for out of hospital expenses. Chances are that early detection because of a health screening can help you to treat a condition before it becomes something major. Do not wait any longer. Join a medical aid scheme now if you want to enjoy the benefits of affordable medical cover.

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