Given pressures on the state-funded healthcare services in South Africa, the only way to avoid long queues and even longer waiting lists, caused by staff and equipment shortages, is by switching to private healthcare. While both services are subject to high operating costs, private hospitals and practitioners recover these from patients, creating a need for the financial support of medical aid schemes. For parents, in particular, this tends to be extremely important, as children are frequently in need of specialist attention.
For such purposes, schemes offer a family membership in which the main member pays the bulk of the premium cost, while the cost of adding cover for a spouse or a child is substantially less. For a wife or partner who is already enrolled in a scheme at the time she becomes pregnant, the cost of the birth, the associated pre- and post-natal check-ups, and any subsequent paediatric care required by a new-born infant can be daunting, but will be covered by a good medical aid product intended for parents.
Once the confinement is over and mother and baby are safely back in their own home, more often than not, it will be the infant who is most frequently in need of some form of medical attention. It is, therefore, a comfort for the main member to know that the cost of visits to a paediatrician or an ear, nose, and throat specialist will be adequately covered when one is enrolled in a suitably comprehensive family scheme.
It is not all about the kids, though. Moms and dads also get sick, but need their health to look after them – another reason that the right medical aid is especially important for parents. While all of the schemes currently operating in South Africa will include a product in its portfolio that is able to offer the basic benefits referred to above, there is one that has chosen to go the extra mile and to focus on some of the needs of a family that other schemes have overlooked. Known as the Smart Baby Programme, it is the brainchild of KeyHealth.
This innovative benefit, included in all of the medical aid products is invaluable for prospective parents, and is provided at no extra cost. For the first-time mom, its maternity benefits include general advice on health and wellness during pregnancy, which can be a comfort for prospective dads too. Other benefits include a free copy of the “The New Baby and Childcare Handbook”, written by a well-known expert in the field, and access to a Facebook Group where new moms can exchange experiences and advice with others.
The Smart Baby Programme included as part of its medical aid services for parents also provides information on how to access other benefits, such as classes, ultrasound scans, vitamins, and vaccinations and, despite KeyHealth’s competitive premiums, this is not the only free benefit that is of value to members with babies and small children.
The Easy-ER facility was introduced as a medical aid service for parents, to provide their children with immediate access to a hospital emergency room in the event of a sudden illness or accident. KeyHealth has since extended that service to include the whole family.