Article provided by Medshield Medical Scheme
It is a sad fact that most people who earn an average salary in South Africa are unable to pay for private healthcare without some form of financial assistance. This situation is made even worse by the fact that the actual cost of treatment is constantly increasing. There are currently approximately 80 organisations that provide this kind of support. However, the extent and the cost of that support can vary quite widely. It is, therefore, essential to compare medical aids carefully and to determine which scheme may best suit the needs of you and your family before committing to one in particular.
The good news is that it will not be necessary to check out all of them. Of the total number currently operating, almost 75% are closed schemes. This means that they only accept members from pre-defined groups, such as the employees of a specific company, members of a particular professional body, or workers in a common industry, like mining, accountancy, or law enforcement.
For the self-employed, small business employees and those without access to a group scheme, there are currently around 27 open schemes to choose from. Naturally, it will be important to select one whose monthly premiums fall within their budget, as failure to make a payment can result in cover being suspended. That said, price should not be the sole factor to influence the decision-making process. To compare medical aids effectively, a number of other equally important criteria needs to be considered.
Of these, the first is to determine just what you will be getting for your money. What benefits are offered by the various product options/plans and are they directly relevant to your likely needs and those of any dependents to be included under the scheme?
The quickest way to get started when you need to compare medical aids is to visit a couple of online comparison sites. Providing a few personal details will be sufficient to generate a number of quotes and, from these, you can then proceed to pick those that fall within your budget in order to make a final decision. It is at this point that you can start comparing benefits and look out for limits to the amounts paid that might be applied to benefits that are especially significant to you or a family member.
Comparing the benefits of affordable options is a good start but, to compare medical aids effectively, there are some other factors to consider. Will your chosen provider be able to make good on its promises? When you submit a claim, can you be confident that it will be settled both fairly and timeously? To answer these questions, you will need to take a closer look at the company itself.
Details should be available on the relevant websites. Longevity is generally a guarantee of good service, while a solvency ratio of 25% or greater and a sound international credit rating indicate financial stability. Based on these three important parameters, many South Africans are finding that, for good value and dependability, there are only a few schemes that qualify.