Why is it Important to Have Medical Aid?
In countries like the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, where social services are long established and operated from funds raised by employee contributions, as well as by a budget allocation from government tax revenues, public sector healthcare remains a feasible choice for the majority of their citizens. In South Africa, however, where no compulsory contributory scheme is in operation, the funding of public health services is provided solely from state coffers. The net result has been that, due to steadily rising costs and vastly increased demands upon the state facilities, a large proportion of South African employees now have no option but to seek their treatment within the private sector. This explains why so many of them must also have access to medical aid.
Like public hospitals and clinics, those within the private healthcare industry are also faced with rising costs. In addition, given the higher service levels that they are required to deliver, they are already starting from a higher baseline. Given that an abdominal CT scan can cost close to R4 000 and that the price for a cardiac bypass is a little over R300 000, there are very few people indeed who could possibly hope to settle such sums from the proceeds of their employment. It is also worth noting, that the latter procedure, when performed in South Africa, can cost locals as much as double or more that charged for the same procedure in certain other countries, such as Switzerland.
It has been estimated that around 95% of all the revenue generated by the country’s private healthcare industry is derived from claims made upon the close to one hundred medical aid funds currently operating locally. This figure also implies that a similar percentage of patients would be unable to benefit from private healthcare without the financial assistance that they provide. Although meeting the premiums can be challenging, the new system of tax credits is now helping to make them more manageable. Why then is it so important to have medical aid? Because your life could depend upon it.