When Choosing Medical Aid Schemes – Make Comparisons
When choosing between medical aid schemes in South Africa, making careful comparisons is no less important than if you were shopping for a new flat-screen TV, a new family car or even a new home. That said, when choosing between such material purchases, we are often likely to make a decision based upon emotions and may even be drawn into spending more than we had intended in the process. When it comes to selecting a service, however, there is absolutely no room for emotions. You need to know precisely what you need and to make sure that this is precisely what you will be given.
In the case of medical aid schemes, the need for comparisons is even greater than when you may be considering other services, given that your health and that of your loved ones could depend on your making the best choice. In light of the tighter financial climate, many South Africans have been forced to look for ways in which to economise. The result has been an increased tendency for the consumer to be influenced more by the price of an item than by its quality.
Once again, while it may be a reasonable policy to buy the house brands when shopping for groceries or to settle for a slightly older car when trading yours in, choosing the best medical aid schemes involves more than simple price comparisons. The benefits that you can expect in exchange for your money and whether or not these will adequately need your needs and those of your dependents are the factors that, in this case, will determine the true value for money and not just the relative cost associated with whichever choice you make.
Ultimately, of course, you can only join a scheme that offers premiums that you can meet from your monthly budget, as any failure to pay premiums can result in immediate loss of cover. It is therefore important to begin your search by identifying three or four medical aid schemes that appear affordable, before proceeding to make more in-depth comparisons.
Since your main focus must be on a given product’s benefits, you will need to make an inventory of your known needs. Fortunately, legislation introduced in 1998 means that members with asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, hypertension, haemophilia and twenty other common chronic conditions are guaranteed full cover for these, as well as all medical emergencies. Overseen by the industry’s regulatory body, the CMS, this is a mandatory requirement of all products offered through any of South Africa’s almost one hundred current medical aid schemes. This means that any comparisons of benefits can be focused more on the other services that you may need to call upon, such as dentistry, optometry, obstetrics and gynaecology.
Check for the percentage of any given expense that will be covered and for the annual limits set on the total claims for those benefits that are most relevant. Above all, try not to be influenced by incentives such as discounted purchases or loyalty points. They add no core value, but their cost will definitely be covered by the premiums. KeyHealth values our members’ healthcare needs above all else. All our products include additional, core benefits at no charge, thus making comparisons with most other medical aid schemes somewhat superfluous.