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Some Useful Tips on How to Choose a Medical Aid


With more than ninety individual funds currently operating in South Africa, finding the one that might best suit your needs and those of your family can be something of a challenge. In practice, however, if it is actually necessary for you to know how to choose a medical aid in person, then you can probably eliminate almost three-quarters of these from your search. Known as closed or group schemes, their membership is limited to specific groups, such as employees of a specific company; people engaged in a particular type of occupation, such as mining or teaching; or those who are members of a professional body, such as Chartered Accountants.

In the case of employees, membership is often automatic, and might be a condition of service with the employer contributing to the monthly premiums. In the other instances, group membership is an attractive option, as it makes discounted premiums possible. For the self-employed or for those whose employer is not allied to a group scheme, there are still about twenty-five open schemes, and so, knowing how to choose a medical aid will definitely be important. In practice, making that selection is a process that can be more than a little confusing, and the fact that the applicable terms and conditions are frequently shrouded in legal jargon with which most prospective members are unlikely to be familiar does little to simplify the decision-making process.

Inevitably, given the current economic climate, the cost of premiums will need to feature in that process. Price, however, should not be the sole consideration. Knowing how to choose a medical aid that will serve the needs of the main member and any dependent members will require striking an acceptable balance between its cost and the specific core benefits available to members under its stated terms.

Another feature that can assist greatly with the selection process is the reputation of the companies that appear to offer suitable products. In most cases, funds offer a range of five or six products in order to ensure that there is one that is adequate and affordable for most of its potential members. Because they are not-for-profit companies, membership numbers are important, and some resort to incentives to boost them. In the end, however, paying your medical bills will be more important than cheap movie tickets. These non-core benefits must be paid for somehow, and this could mean the insurer will need to curtail some core member benefits.

One of the keys to knowing how to choose a medical aid lies in avoiding the temptation to forfeit necessary cover in exchange for unnecessary gimmicks. It also involves understanding exactly what core benefits you will be getting for your money. Once again, this is where the reputation of a fund is so important, and what better guideline regarding the performance of any company could there be than its longevity?

Helping to finance private healthcare for South Africans since 1968, KeyHealth, with almost fifty years’ experience, is among the nation’s oldest and most trusted open schemes. With a choice of affordable products, each with clearly defined core benefits, including some that are totally unique at no extra charge, the name, KeyHealth, is all you need to know about how to choose a medical aid.