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How KeyHealth is Making Cheap Medical Aid a Reality


Even before the chaos resulting first from the Covid-19 pandemic and, more recently, the conflict in Ukraine, inflation was taking its toll on South Africa’s citizens. Given the inherently high cost of providing healthcare, it is not surprising that this sector has suffered more than most. While the state-funded system offers assistance, it is overburdened, underfunded, and plagued by lengthy waiting lists. By contrast, private healthcare facilities are of an exceptional standard but unaffordable for most South Africans without access to cheap medical aid.

That said, maintaining affordable monthly premium prices poses a challenge in light of the spiralling cost of equipment, medication and essential utilities. While the Department of Health lists recommended tariffs for each medicine, diagnostic test, and treatment, the nation’s physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals are under no obligation to abide by them. In practice, many have elected to charge three or even five times the DOH recommendation for some procedures. However, despite such challenges, scheme managers have had to find ways to provide cheap medical aid or risk losing members. Without sufficient membership, a scheme might be unable to maintain an adequate cash reserve to meet its claims. Nevertheless, most have managed to keep their premium increases to a minimum, although how they achieve this varies.


How Medical Aid Schemes Keep Their Premiums Low

Some opt for the direct route, reducing daily limits and curtailing or eliminating selected benefits they believe are not essential. However, because they are obliged to retain cover for prescribed minimum benefits, including 26 listed chronic illnesses, this is an acceptable compromise for many who require cheap medical aid.

Another popular tactic aimed at the nation’s better-paid citizens is to divert attention from the higher premium price with an offer of attractive incentives. The ploy works for many. However, we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch. Those discounted cinema tickets and gym memberships must be paid for somehow. Trimming some of a product’s core benefits is the only viable option.


How KeyHealth Stays Affordable

It’s not all bad news, however. KeyHealth has adopted an approach to cost-cutting that has turned the dream of cheap medical aid into a reality. Our strategy is to tackle the source of the pricing problem – the service providers. Many schemes allow their members to seek healthcare from whoever they choose and risk bills that will not be fully covered. By contrast, at KeyHealth, we specify where they should seek treatment to ensure they receive maximum coverage. The concept is simple but effective. We have appointed a network of preferred service providers and negotiated tariffs consistent with the benefits we offer in exchange for captive business. The arrangement enables us to fully meet our members’ claims despite providing them with cheap medical aid options.

In practice, the network enables us to go the extra mile. For example, we can provide options like unlimited hospital plans that include valuable day-to-day benefits, such as payments for dental work and optometry. Many rival schemes may offer freebies irrelevant to their members’ health needs. Instead, the KeyHealth network enables us to incorporate three highly significant core benefits into each of our options at no extra charge. Naturally, our members are free to seek assistance from any service provider they wish. However, higher tariffs could mean larger co-payments, which tends to defeat the whole purpose of cheap medical aid.


KeyHealth’s Additional Core Benefits for Added Value

Let’s take a closer look at these free core benefits and examine their added value, even with a basic hospital plan. Firstly, all members have access to Easy-ER. Beneficiaries enjoy immediate access to emergency hospital treatment following playground accidents, sports injuries, dental injuries resulting from an external blow, and trauma sustained in car accidents. Children spend much of their time out of sight of their parents. Consequently, they are given an Easy-ER card containing their details and confirming their benefits to ensure immediate treatment in an emergency room.

Other free features of our cheap medical aid products are the Smart Baby Programme and Health Booster. The former includes an allowance for medical costs or small items for the baby during pregnancy, a handbook to assist first-time mothers, access to a Facebook group providing information on pregnancy and childcare, and access to ante-natal visits, classes, ultrasound scans, vitamins and other relevant benefits.

Finally, Health Booster covers immunisation, vaccinations, pap smears, mammography, annual PSA and HIV tests and health assessments, contraceptive medication and a weight-loss programme. We invite you to learn more about KeyHealth’s cheap medical aid options and join now to enjoy these valuable free additional core benefits.