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A Guide to Choosing the Best Medical Aid Option for Young Adults


A declining public healthcare sector forced many South Africans to seek private treatment. Medical aid schemes must now cater to all, including young adults. Given the present record levels of inflation, affordability has become an issue even among those who would previously have shown little concern about the cost of protecting their health and that of their loved ones. However, current circumstances apart, there have always been some for whom the cost of purchasing cover for private healthcare was beyond their means.

The average young single person leaving college to begin their first job is unlikely to be paid a hefty salary, and much of their income will be devoted to paying off student loans, renting a flat and keeping up with car payments or commuting costs. When fully-comprehensive products were the only option, those no longer covered by a parent’s medical aid scheme had no choice but to manage without any form of financial assistance towards their medical expenses and just hope for the best.

Fortunately, the country’s medical schemes became aware of their plight, and, in time, they began developing a new type of product, more affordable to people in their circumstances. The new product was known as a hospital plan and has since become the option of choice for many South Africans.


How the Hospital Plan Provides Affordable Medical Aid

The underlying concept of these plans could not be more straightforward. The average young person enjoys good general health as a natural by-product of their youth. Barring an accident or medical emergency, during a  typical year, they are unlikely to require more than an occasional visit to a general practitioner or dentist and some over-the-counter painkillers, adhesive dressings or cough mixture.

However, should a young adult develop a severe illness or become involved in a motor accident that requires hospital treatment, the costs of an operation and a few weeks as an inpatient could be a financial catastrophe. It is precisely for such contingencies that the hospital plan was introduced. A good plan will meet all, or at least, the bulk of any private treatment and care costs whenever the member requires hospitalisation. It will cover the cost of an ambulance where needed and any secondary services like pathology and radiology that might prove necessary following admission. At the same time, potential members should be aware that a plan may not cover their day-to-day medical expenses, which will remain their responsibility.


Not Only Young People Need More Affordable Medical Aid Today

As the global recession continues putting the brakes on the country’s economy and rising food, fuel, and energy prices bite into our pay packets, it is no longer just the young struggling to afford the monthly premiums levied by medical schemes. Many who previously enjoyed fully comprehensive private healthcare cover are now desperate to find cheaper but adequate alternatives. Once again, a hospital plan is proving to be the solution.

In their original form, these plans would continue to require those with poor general health to meet any expenses incurred as an outpatient. Even a visit to the emergency room would incur a cost unless it became necessary to admit the patient. However, medical schemes are crucially dependent on maintaining adequate membership numbers to continue delivering reliable service. Consequently, medical aid providers chose to extend the benefits included in their hospital plans to retain their existing members and attract new ones.

Many of today’s products differ considerably from the original model, combining varying levels of out-of-hospital coverage with an unlimited hospital plan. For the country’s healthy youth, some schemes still offer the option of a bare-bones plan. At KeyHealth, we have developed the following options to cater to most needs and budgets.

  • Essence: This product provides young adults and anyone of limited means with financial help for those unexpected accidents and medical emergencies. It also covers 26 chronic illnesses and several supplementary services such as emergency transportation, psychiatry and prosthetics.
  • Equilibrium: The addition of a savings plan helps members manage their out-of-hospital medical expenses as they wish. Generous specified day-to-day benefits and cover for 29 chronic conditions give it an edge over competing products.


An Unlimited Hospital Plan Could Provide All The Medical Aid You Need

We have left no stone unturned in our efforts to provide affordable cover and peace of mind for all. Why not browse our 2023 benefits now and start enjoying the perfect private healthcare solution for you?