Don’t Confuse Inexpensive with Cheap when Comparing Medical Aids
The desire to find cheap medical aids is a thoroughly understandable one. However, the consequences of finding oneself with insufficient cover in an emergency could be far more serious than the failure of a cut-price toaster or hairdryer on the day after its warranty expires. Sadly, far too many people only discover the importance of their health when it becomes compromised and when, regardless of the cost involved, they become equally desperate for it to be restored.
The days of a comprehensive, state-funded health service in South Africa are over and, in its place, understaffed and overworked facilities are largely restricted to providing only the primary healthcare services possible, given their dwindling budgets. A proliferation of cheap medical aids that are as often designed to attract custom as to meet healthcare costs, and aimed at those with limited income, has been one of the immediate reactions to this crisis. Although some of these may provide the means for members to meet a reasonable proportion of their more important needs, many tend to fall short of doing, so while some other products have proved to be seriously inadequate.
A classic example of the latter can be seen in the hospital plans that are mistakenly welcomed, by many of those who are unable to afford a more comprehensive plan, as cheap medical aids. However, although these products will cover major emergencies and the expensive treatments required during a period of admission, most often they will leave a member with no support at all for any illness or treatment that does not actually require him or her to be hospitalised. This means that in the absence of a serious medical emergency during the year, the premium payments made will have provided no tangible benefit, serving much like a motor insurance policy, but without a “no claims” bonus.
Few families get through a year without a couple of visits to the dentist and a bout or two of flu that may require antibiotics, but cheap medical aids will often set very low limits on such claims, while the average hospital plan will not cover these day-to-day contingencies at all. Extending cover does not mean that it is unlimited. In practice, a scheme’s managers will often compensate for the cost of keeping premiums down by offsetting it with lower caps on certain benefits. If any of the benefits so affected should be among those crucial to your health or to that of a dependent family member, then to purchase that product would be a false economy, not to mention a gamble that you could live to regret.
Fortunately, finding affordable private healthcare cover does not mean one must settle for cheap medical aids such as these. While many of the existing products that offer the more comprehensive, year-round benefits that a family requires, they are beyond the reach of many pockets.
By concentrating on the most important needs of the member and eliminating irrelevant promotional elements, such as bonuses and loyalty from our products, we at KeyHealth offer products that combine manageable premiums with realistic benefits to provide exceptional value. Even our entry level product covers hospital care and essential day-to-day requirements, including chronic medication and dentistry to provide inexpensive protection not possible with typical cheap medical aids.