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Medical Aid – Affordable Medical Aid Option for Students


An Affordable Medical Aid Option for Students

While the years spent in a college or university by young people preparing for their future can be worth all the midnight oil and frantic preparations for assignments and final exams, it can be several years before this investment begins to yield dividends.  During their years of study and later, when in the early stages of a new career, students seldom have enough spare cash for medical aid premiums. However, should they become seriously ill or injured, the financial consequences of having no means to offset the ever-increasing cost of private healthcare in South Africa today could be little short of disastrous.

To avert the risk, learners have two possible options. Although quite possibly living away from their family home, ideally a mother or father is a member of a suitable scheme and they should be able to receive cover as a dependent. In most cases, this will probably be just a continuation of the status quo. Providing they are included in the scheme prior to their 18th birthday, cover may then be continued on this basis up to the age of 26.

In practice, it is not necessary for the main member to be one of a minor dependent’s parents. Currently, no restriction is placed upon the relationship with the main member for a student to be granted dependent status under a medical aid scheme. A grandparent, elder brother or sister, an uncle or aunt, or even a friend who is an existing main member of a scheme is acceptable, in this instance, as an alternative to a parent.

For those who have nobody to whom they can turn for such support, the need for private healthcare cover is no less important and the industry has responded with a more affordable option known as the hospital plan. Firstly, it is important to understand that this option differs considerably from that offered by insurance companies and differing by just one short but very significant word – the hospital cash plan. The latter pays a fixed sum for each day spent as an in-patient and will amount to only a small fraction of the actual cost of hospitalisation and treatment.

By contrast, the product offered by a medical aid scheme will generally cover the vast majority of expenses incurred whilst in hospital and offers a far cheaper option for students. That said, it is important to note the restrictions of these hospital plans. Benefits apply only when hospitalised, leaving members to cover bills for GP visits and prescribed medication, at all other times during their yearlong membership. It is especially important to note that the same restriction normally applies to prescribed minimum benefits, including any expenses relating to chronic illnesses, such as asthma and epilepsy.

There are several reasons why premiums are often unaffordable but, at KeyHealth, we have left no stone unturned in our efforts to keep our premiums competitive whilst maximising the core benefits of our products. Nowhere, perhaps, is this policy more evident than with our entry-level Essence scheme. A good choice for students, this medical aid product covers all emergency costs arising from hospitalisation, year-round, and unlimited chronic medication, PMBs and many added benefits at no extra charge.