Why medical aid is an important expense to keep on your budget

September 27, 2018

As much as we consume vitamins, live a relatively healthy lifestyle and always wash our hands, our health is one of the most unpredictable aspects of our lives. You never know when you’ll need a visit to the doctor or hospital for that matter.

You can’t be sure when your hereditary genes will kick in and leave you with a chronic condition or illness that requires extensive treatment and chronic medication. And if you have a family, those are more unpredictable lives you need to have healthcare provisions for.

When you see the rise in the price of medical aids in 2018, and you consider your health track record, it might seem like an easy decision to cancel your medical aid cover and save a few bucks for other living expenses. But medical aid is not the budget-cut you should be making. What you might need to do is consider looking at other medical covers such as hospital plans in South Africa and compare those prices to what you’re currently paying.

There are affordable hospital plans in South Africa and, likewise, affordable medical aid plans for whichever type of cover you’re able to budget for. If you’re really struggling to afford your medical scheme, you need to look at the other coverage options, as well as cut down on some other personal expenses. But choosing to cancel your medical plan completely is not a smart or long-term financial solution. If Murphy’s Law would have it, the day you cancel your medical coverage is the day you fall ill and need to visit the doctor.

It can save you money


Medical aid feels like an unnecessary expense when you don’t use it every month, but it’s a financial safety net that makes all the difference when you or your child does become sick. And it’s not only when you’re sick that medical aid can provide financial relief.

Should your child obtain a sports injury, need to have their wisdom teeth removed or go for an X-ray after an accident, medical aid will help you cover those costs. Most medical aid plans cover more than just doctors bills and can save you money from a variety of procedures, operations, check-ups and treatment plans. And while hospital plans are primarily focussed on in-hospital expenses, some hospital plans cover a limited number of out-of-hospital medical elements too.   

Many people underestimate the costs of an emergency procedure, the “renting” of a hospital bed and even the ride in an ambulance. If you do choose to cancel your medical aid or hospital plan, you need to have some sort of medical savings fund to cover the event of a medical emergency. Otherwise, you will find yourself in debt or unable to receive the care you need. Medical aid covers these costs for you and, because of that, provides peace of mind and financial relief for nothing more than an affordable monthly fee.   

You might argue that it’s still not worth it when you’re still required to make copayments or upfront payments before medical aid will cover it. Well, copayments are usually significantly small compared to the total medical bill and paying upfront might be unaffordable in that moment, but you have the security that your medical aid will likely pay you back for it.

It’s your responsibility, however, to make sure that you are aware of the medical plan you’re on and exactly what your medical scheme will and will not cover. Every medical aid plan is slightly different so you need to make sure that you and your family are covered for absolutely everything you might possibly need.  

It provides quality care


Another reason why medical aid is an important expense to keep is that it provides you and your family with quality care. With medical aid, you don’t have to worry about compromising on healthcare by finding the cheapest possible practitioner in a dingy part of town. That type of care would possibly only worsen the condition of your health.

Accredited medical aid schemes have a designated service provider list of practitioners, specialists and medical institutions that you have access to, so long as you’re paying for cover. Medical aid allows you to give you and your loved ones the best care at an affordable price. You won’t have to compromise on the well-being of your family when you have a medical aid or hospital plan in place to take care of them.

When making your monthly medical aid payments, think about the future and long-term healthcare for yourself and your family. You can’t put a price to that type of security but, luckily, there are affordable medical aid and hospital plans offered by medical schemes in South Africa. Compare plans and prices and assess the medical needs of your family. Then medical aid won’t need to be an expense you consider removing from your budget.

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