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Clear Comparisons of Medical Aid Schemes in South Africa


Whether you are thinking of joining a medical aid scheme, changing plans within the same scheme, or changing your employment and joining a company that does not offer medical aid membership as part of its salary package. It is wise to make comparisons. Otherwise, you may make the wrong choice and find out too late to change again immediately. You do not only want to realise later on that you could and should have chosen a better, more suitable, and more affordable option that meets your needs.

People often use the terms “medical aid” and “medical scheme” interchangeably, but each represents something slightly different. They are both components of a medically related service that provides medical cover for members, when medical treatment or medication is required. That is the only real similarity between the two terms.

Medical Scheme

In South Africa, a medical scheme is a legal body that is registered with the Council for Medical Schemes, which is the legal regulating body of all medical schemes. Registration is compulsory for both restricted and private schemes in the country. Each scheme has its own, registered name, which is akin to the name of a company, with its own employees, who help to administer the business of the scheme.

The fundamental business of the scheme consists of collecting contributions and administering accumulated funds to help pay for members’ medical claims, according to the scheme’s medical aid plan that they have joined. The medical scheme provides a range of medical aid plans. While there are similarities, each scheme offers its own selection of plans, at various rates.

Restricted or closed schemes are available to members who work for large entities or groups that offer medical aid cover to all their employees, generally as a cost to company and part of employees’ fringe benefits. Membership may be compulsory. In South Africa, contributions may be subsidised by the employer. Group monthly membership fees are typically lower than those of closed or private schemes.

Private or open schemes are accessible to anyone who wants to have medical cover, which is not offered by the employer as part of a salary package. The decision of which private scheme to join, based on which option is the is most suitable, and affordable, is that of the member.

Medical Aid

Medical aid refers to the plan, that the scheme offers. This is where comparisons need to be made. It is a decision that is based on the costs versus benefits. The decision of which medical aid plan to choose is entirely up to the member. The prospect of making essential comparisons can be daunting, but it is essential.


Do not make the mistake of making comparisons, based purely on the affordability of monthly contributions. Rather aim to strike a balance between cost and related benefits, when comparing medical plans. In general, you get what you pay for, despite being wisely budget conscious.

We suggest that you include KeyHealth medical scheme’s medical aid plans when conducting your comparisons. We pride ourselves on offering smart and straightforward medical aid plans to South Africans. These plans provide the best possible medical aid cover for the most competitively priced contributions possible. The plans are devoid of unimportant extras and special offers that are not related to the main reason why you belong to a medical scheme, which is simply medical aid/assistance cover.