Shopping for the Best Value Medical Aid Packages in 2017
There is no doubt that, over the past decade, there has been a steady decline in the disposable incomes of most South Africans. The tariffs we must pay for electricity and water have spiralled and escalating fuel costs have added to the price of almost all consumer goods. At the same time, a steadily depreciating rand has placed imported goods and overseas travel beyond the reach of many of the country’s citizens. Despite this steady rise in the cost of living, however, most people’s incomes have continued to lag behind, with the result that more and more have been forced either to economise or to resort to living on credit. One area in which many locals will be hoping to economise in 2017 is likely to be on their choice of medical age packages.
Unfortunately, much like our petrol, utilities, and consumer goods, the cost of healthcare has also been subject to inflation. As a result, each year, the nation’s cover providers have been obliged either to find ways of cutting their costs or to seek the approval of the Council for Medical Schemes to increase their monthly premiums. Equally unfortunate is the attendant risk that many of those who will be seeking cover during the coming year are likely to be more influenced by the cost of a given product than by the relevance of its benefits.
It is only when its becomes compromised that we tend to truly appreciate the importance of our health, especially at a time when the state-funded, public healthcare facilities are failing and only the very wealthy can hope to meet the cost of private sector treatment from their own pockets. Therefore, any medical aid packages that one may consider purchasing in 2017, in addition to being affordable, should also provide cover for all the anticipated needs of the main member and each of their dependents.
Obviously, there is a limit to what most people can afford to pay in premiums each month but this should not have to mean they must settle for less cover than they may actually need. One piece of good news is that, under the terms of the Medical Schemes Act of 1988, all of a scheme’s products must provide full cover for any member or dependent suffering from one of 25 defined chronic illnesses.
When attempting to select from among the medical aid packages available in 2017, therefore, it is any specific requirements that a prospective member may have and which are not covered by the Act that should guide their choice. While one of the many a comparison sites that are now available can be helpful, these tend to compare premiums rather than benefits and a detailed examination of these will be necessary.
In practice, one of the best yardsticks when making such comparisons is a scheme’s record. With almost 50 years in the business, a solvency ratio well above the legal requirement, and a reputation for innovative, affordable products with a focus on core benefits, it is hardly surprising that so many South Africans are choosing KeyHealth’s medical aid packages in 2017.