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Why is it Important to Have Medical Aid?


In seeking to understand why it is so important to have medical aid, it may pay to first ask yourself a few questions. For example, how confident are you that you will have immediate access to whatever treatment you might need if you were to depend solely on the services currently provided by the state-funded healthcare system. If the year was now 1950 rather than 2019, your answer might well have been; “I am extremely confident”. At that time, however, South Africa’s relatively new National Health Service was still the envy of many other nations. Unfortunately, it was not too long before the demands on the system began to exceed its capacity to meet them, and the result was that those who could afford it began to seek help from the private healthcare sector.

If this alone fails to explain why it is important to have medical aid, perhaps you should consider the cost of treatment when it is not subsidised by the State. According to figures compiled in 2014, you could have been charged R8 800 for an MRI scan, R17 000 for a normal birth, almost R5 500 per day for hospital accommodation, and a massive R 300 000 or more for a heart bypass. Since then, costs have increased. What kind of impact might a serious injury, as the result of a motor accident or any of the requirements mentioned above, have on your family budget? There is every possibility that an average family could be forced to spend its entire life savings and still end up deep in debt.

While not all treatments might appear as dramatic as an emergency appendectomy, they can be just as vital and equally costly when compounded over a longer period. This is yet another reason why it is important to have medical aid. Some illnesses are for life and the cost of lifelong monitoring, treatment, and care can account for a sizeable chunk of a family’s disposable income. Since 1998, all medical schemes have been compelled to cover the costs of all healthcare requirements arising from 25 chronic illnesses. These include diabetes types 1 and 2, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, haemophilia, multiple sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus, to name just a few. Knowing that the cost of diagnosis, treatment, and care are fully covered offers peace of mind for the patient, as well as for his or her family.

While the benefits described should be more than sufficient to explain exactly why it is important to have medical aid in South Africa, it is just as important to ensure that the scheme, in which you plan to enrol, is the one best able to meet your likely healthcare needs and those of any of your dependents who might also be included under the scheme. However, it is not always easy to see exactly what you will be getting for your money. A high premium price tends to indicate that the benefits are more comprehensive, but it is also important to know that they are your personal needs.

Affordable prices, clearly defined benefits, plus some valuable core extras are just three reasons why many South Africans believe it is even more important to have medical aid from KeyHealth.