Some Important Considerations When Purchasing Medical Aid for Couples
While it may seem trite to some, it needs to be remembered that medical aid, whether intended for couples, individuals, or extended families, is simply a specialised form of insurance. What that means is that, like the policy on your home, your car, or your life, if at any time you may be unable to afford the monthly premium, all cover could be ceased unilaterally by the underwriter and all benefits lost. It is therefore vital to choose a product that one can continue to afford even if one of the dependents should lose their job and no longer be in a position to contribute significantly to the family coffers.
At the same time, it is important not to sacrifice what could later prove to be essential benefits in the attempt to ensure affordability. The right choice will be a delicate balance between the extent of the cover provided and the cost of the monthly premiums. Moreover, rather than compromising too severely on the former, it will be better to look at other ways in which to economise and thus to pay, at least, for all of the cover you believe you, as the main member, and any dependent members who may share that cover, are most likely to need.
When seeking medical aid for couples or families, it must be understood that nobody is entitled to be a member of more than one scheme at the same time, while switching between schemes is quite acceptable. Likewise, it is perfectly OK for each partner to join the group scheme offered by their respective company, so that each can then enjoy the benefits of discounted rates, plus a contribution towards the monthly premium by their employer. This is an option that will need to be carefully appraised, as it could easily work out more expensive than joint membership of the same scheme.
Of course, should they decide to join the same scheme, they will need to choose one or the other. This choice, in turn, will determine which of the two will be recognised as the main member (and who will therefore be responsible for the premium payments) and which will be designated as the dependent member. So where, one might ask, does that leave partners or spouses that are self-employed?
Not surprisingly, the same regulations regarding dual membership also apply to the self-employed member. However, the freedom to shop around can be seen as an advantage and offers a far wider choice of medical aid schemes suitable for couples. The explanation lies in the fact that around 26 of the schemes currently operating in South Africa are open to all applicants and not, like the remaining 70 or so, closed schemes, restricted to the employees of a named company or to members of a particular profession, for example.
When making comparisons of the various product available from the nation’s open schemes, it quickly becomes apparent that, among the most comprehensive and affordable, are those developed by KeyHealth, a veteran of almost six decades in the industry, with a reputation for meeting its claims timeously and in full – an excellent starting point for anyone seeking quality medical aid for couples.