Medical Aid for Young Adults in South Africa
The job market has reached an all-time low in South Arica and many of those newly matriculated teenagers, fresh from high school, or young adults with their university degrees, now have little or no chance of finding employment any time soon. Where possible, these unfortunate individuals will need to continue relying on a parent or close relative to fund their medical aid cover.
Even among those who are lucky enough to find a job, it will often involve something fairly menial and well below their proven abilities. This, in fact, could leave them worse off than if they had remained unemployed since, as wage earners, they will no longer be seen by insurers as financially dependent upon a parent and so they will become responsible for funding their own healthcare cover, as this is typically not part of the remuneration package among those in lower-paid, temporary, or part-time employment. So, what is the answer? Are there currently any affordable medical aid options suitable for young adults in today’s South Africa?
While these individuals may be decidedly disadvantaged by their meagre incomes, they do, however, normally hold one distinct advantage over their elders. Since, statistically, the incidence of serious illness shows a direct correlation with the increasing age of the individual, their generally healthy status will reduce the risk to insurers and, in some cases, this might qualify them for a proportionately cheaper monthly premium. More significant though, is the fact that they will probably require far less comprehensive cover and so any product that is designed to meet the more limited potential healthcare needs of this age group should be inherently cheaper.
One medical aid product that has proved to be particularly useful option for many of the nation’s young adults is the hospital plan. So called because its benefits only apply as long as the member is detained as an in-patient, they should not be confused with the hospital cash plans offered by many of the short-term insurance companies in South Africa. The latter pay a fixed cash sum for each day spent in a hospital and is generally sufficient to cover loss of earnings and any incidental expenses. By contrast, a true hospital plan will cover most if not all of the actually expenses incurred as a result of diagnostic procedures, treatment, care, and accommodation throughout each period of hospitalisation.
During the remainder of the year, however, a hospital plan will generally not provide any form of cover at all. As a result, any expenses that may be incurred by visits to a GP or specialist, all associated prescription charges, and any optometry or dentistry that may prove necessary will be strictly for the account of the member.
Known for its willingness to go the extra mile in order to meet its members’ requirements as fully as possible, KeyHealth has long been recognised as a leader and an innovator in the design of medical aid products. One of the more obvious examples of these qualities is to be seen in the form of an affordable entry-level product that successfully combines the role of a hospital plan with some unique, long-term benefits that are proving to be invaluable to many of the young adults who are living and working in South Africa.