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When is the Right Time to Join a Medical Aid Scheme?


Perhaps the most straightforward answer to this question is – on the day you are born. Indeed, anyone with a newly born infant should not hesitate to sign up as soon as possible. Naturally, applicants must be of working age and have sufficient income to cover the premiums. In South Africa, you need to be 18 before you can independently enrol in a medical aid scheme. However, anyone younger than 18 can be included in a parent’s or guardian’s membership as a registered dependent. Furthermore, full-time students and others reliant on parental support may continue as dependent members until 24.

However, you will eventually become independent. You begin accumulating commitments like rent and credit payments the day you leave home. You rely more on remaining healthy to continue earning money to meet those commitments. Your general health may be excellent, but could you pay the hospital bill if you had an accident or developed appendicitis? Joining a medical aid scheme will put an end to such concerns.


For an Affordable Medical Aid Option, Invest in a Hospital Plan

At this stage in your life, your salary is likely to be comparatively modest, and you must be more careful with your spending. It is, therefore, the perfect time to invest in a hospital plan – the cheapest form of private healthcare cover available. The decision will relieve you of all worries regarding any condition that requires expensive hospitalisation, leaving you to pay for occasional GP or dentist visits and prescriptions if needed. When you sign up for the Essence option with the KeyHealth medical aid scheme, you can enjoy peace of mind for the price of a weekly meal at your favourite burger joint.


The Benefits of Joining Early

Later, when you marry and are thinking of starting a family, you will need more comprehensive cover. Sign up well before the planned pregnancy if you want help with the maternity costs and paediatrician’s fees. A scheme will not pay claims for healthcare expenses arising from most pre-existing conditions during the first twelve months of membership. In practice, all companies apply a general three-month waiting period before accepting claims from new members unless they are transferring from another medical aid scheme. However, the shorter waiting period might be waived for members with a chronic illness classified as a prescribed minimum benefit in certain instances.

Timing can be important for another reason. It might be tempting to delay joining while you are young and healthy. However, once you reach 35, you could face a late joiner penalty. Procrastinating could increase your monthly premium by between five and 75 per cent, depending on how much longer you delay. There is no time like the present. Check out the affordable options from KeyHealth medical aid scheme.