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Useful Tips When Applying for Medical Aid


When applying for medical aid in South Africa, be sure you get all the healthcare cover you need. Just follow these steps to facilitate the sign-up process. Good health is an invaluable asset whose importance should never be underestimated. However, it could also be compromised at any time, as many of us learned during the recent pandemic.

That same worldwide crisis highlighted the many shortfalls in the nation’s state-funded healthcare system and drove a migration to the private sector to guarantee access to prompt and effective treatment. However, private healthcare is expensive and beyond the reach of the average wage earner in South Africa. Fortunately, there are medical schemes to assist with these costs for those who decide to enrol. Applying for membership is a relatively straightforward process, but a few guidelines might prove helpful. The process can be divided into six steps as follows:


  1. Research and Compare Medical Aids

If you are self-employed or your employer does not offer membership in a group scheme, there are currently 17 open schemes in the country which anyone is free to join. The number has dwindled gradually as some have been forced to close while others have merged to keep going. You can find a list on the Council for Medical Schemes’ website. Look for the registration date. Longevity is a good indicator of reliability. You can request multiple quotes from an online comparison site. Start by selecting all those you can afford.


  1. Check Your Health Needs

Consider any pre-existing medical conditions affecting you or your dependents, where applicable. Age may also influence your future healthcare requirements and those of your family. If you are planning a baby, be aware that most medical aid schemes don’t provide maternity benefits for an existing pregnancy.


  1. Assemble the Relevant Documents

The precise requirements may vary between schemes, but in most cases, you can expect to be asked for the following documents as part of the application process:

  • Identity documents: A passport or government ID is perfect.
  • Proof of address: A recent utility bill should suffice.
  • Proof of income: A current pay slip will do.
  • Bank statements: Most schemes request three months’ statements.

Ensure these are all up-to-date and in a form suitable for uploading if enrollment is an online procedure.


  1. Learn More About Your Chosen Medical Aid Provider

Based on the quotes received during the research phase, your known and anticipated healthcare needs and your disposable income, you will have identified a scheme that best meets your budget and specified requirements. Or maybe you find yourself needing to choose between two. In either case, it would be wise to investigate further before finalising such an important decision.

You have several options. You could pay a visit to the company’s office or have a chat with an advisor on their telephone helpline. Also, you could talk to friends, colleagues or other family members to learn about their experiences when dealing with your proposed provider. A solvency ratio of 25% or more and an excellent international credit rating are hard evidence of a scheme’s reliability and can be checked online.


  1. Complete and Submit Your Application

You could complete a handwritten form at the company’s office, but most people prefer to use the more convenient online enrollment process in the comfort of their homes. Make sure to complete each section and double-check each of your responses.

Some sites offer you the option to print your medical aid application form and post it with hard copies of the required documents. However, you may find it easier to complete the process through the online portal, uploading your documents in a suitable electronic format, such as a Word document or PDF. Either way, make copies of each to keep for your record.


  1. Wait for Feedback

Processing time varies between companies and according to personal circumstances. Once your application is approved, you will receive your membership details and information about your benefits. Study the latter carefully to understand what you can claim and any terms and conditions that may affect you. Note that new members with no previous cover face a three-month compulsory waiting period before they can claim.


Why Choose KeyHealth Medical Aid

With over 55 years of experience, an -AA international credit rating and more than double the required solvency ratio, KeyHealth has gained South Africa’s trust. Learn more about us here and explore our 2023 portfolio and the unique free core benefits you could soon enjoy as a KeyHealth member.