Close this search box.

KeyHealth Member Information

Member Services

Electronic Communication

Medical Aid – How to Apply for Affordable Medical Aid


How to Apply for Affordable Medical Aid in South Africa

Many people in South Africa are automatically included in schemes that will provide cover for any expenses they may incur if they should require private healthcare, as a basic benefit of their employment. Generally, they enjoy favourable premiums to which the employer also contributes. For those not covered in this manner, there are currently about 25 schemes in the country from which they are free to choose.

These are known as open schemes and differ from the majority that restrict their membership to defined groups such as a large company, a profession, or the members of a particular organisation. Instead, open schemes are aimed at the self-employed and those who work for a company with no ties to a group scheme. Those who fall into this category are therefore required to apply personally to one of these open schemes and, most likely, will be looking forthe most affordable medical aid cover they can find, since their premiums will not be subsidised.

While the need for affordability is understandable, given the current financial conditions in South Africa it would, nevertheless, be a big mistake to purchase something as important as healthcare insurance based purely upon its price. While many may consider the cost of cover to be high, it pales into insignificance when faced with a bill for more than R300 000 for life-saving cardiac bypass surgery. Even an MRI could result in a bill for almost R9000, while each day spent in a hospital bed is likely to add well over R5000 to the bottom line.

In the light of such figures, it is quite apparent that, despite the need to apply for membership of an affordable scheme, when choosing medical aid, the most important consideration should be the extent of the benefits offered by a given product rather than the cost of the monthly premiums. In most cases, cover is required, not just for a single individual, but must include their dependent family members, each with his or her own needs. For children, these will frequently include specialised dentistry and most parents are very aware of just how costly orthodontic treatments can be. For anyone planning a baby, the bills from and obstetrician or a paediatric specialist can be just as scary.

Promises are one thing, but delivering on them is another. Whatever you end up paying for your premiums, the benefits can only be assured by a company with the resources to meet your claims in full and on time. This means that when you apply for medical aid, regardless of how affordable it may appear or how generous its benefits may seem, it is important to take care when selecting the company with which you will be dealing. This is a business based on shared risk and so good governance, good credit ratings, adequate cash reserves, and a sufficiently large membership are the keys to its success.

The most reliable indicator of any successful operation is its longevity. In this respect, only a few come close to KeyHealth and even fewer can match its innovative and competitively priced products that include a number of unique and valuable core benefits free of charge – all points worth considering next time you apply for affordable medical aid.