It can be quite intimidating browsing through medical aid schemes. And it can seem to be an unaffordable monthly expense. The truth is, medical aid or coverage at the least is something you need in your life. And if you aren’t sure why or how you can afford medical coverage, you need to read on.
Why you need medical aid
Let’s start with the motivating factor: why you need medical aid. You and your family haven’t had any major medical disasters over the past few years of your life or you’re still young and in good health. We can come up with many different reasons why we think we don’t need medical cover, but they will never outweigh the possibility that we will need it.
Accidents happen extremely quickly and you never know what the future holds. Without coverage, you’d constantly be living in the fear of the unknown and be unprotected in the case of an emergency. By buying medical aid you’ll have peace of mind and not feel as if you’ll need to live on eggshells to try and prevent anything bad from happening.
You need medical aid so you (and your family) can be covered and live life as it should be lived – to the full.
The price of medical bills
If you aren’t yet convinced, let’s take a look at what the cost of some common procedure medical bills. This is what you will have to pay out of your own pocket without medical aid to cover the cost or bulk thereof.
- X-ray: Depending on the area being X-rayed and the practitioners you go to, X-rays can cost anything between R250 and R1 200. And, generally, when people are in need of an X-ray for an injury, they will be required to go back for more checkups. This could be up to four X-rays (at R550 each) over the period of three months for a broken ankle, for example.
- MRI: Should you need to go for an MRI, you are looking at costs from about R6 000 and above.
- Hospital bed: Staying in a hospital bed for a night can cost up to R2 000, exclusive of consultation, tests, procedures and medication fees. For R2 000 a night (most stays are about three days for observation and treatment) you definitely aren’t staying in a hotel.
When you take a trip to the hospital, you never really think about what the costs are going to be at the end of it all. In an attempt to figure out what’s wrong and get better, you’ll go ahead with what needs to be done and be left with a debt-inducing bill at the end of it all.
The price of medical aid
Even if you choose not to pay for medical aid, you’ll end up paying off medical bill debt anyway. It makes a lot more sense to pay a fixed medical aid rate for coverage where the bulk cost of any procedures, tests and hospital visits will be taken care of.
Medical aid prices vary per company and scheme, but there are a variety to choose from that offer different coverage options at different prices. Some of which will be affordable to you. For comprehensive coverage (the most you’ll ever get) you are looking at anything between R1 900 and R9 000. And that is expensive for most people. There are also other options, like hospital plans, that can cost you around R1000 a month.
There are also basic packages with minimal coverage that can be bought from R250 a month. And while that may seem ideal because it’s “affordable”, in the event of an emergency, you’ll likely end up paying thousands of rands you don’t have anyway. It’s important to know what is covered by your medical aid scheme, where the gaps lie (so that gap cover may be purchased as well) and what you’re going to need from your medical aid.
How you can afford it
You need to be able to afford medical aid or coverage of some sort. At the end of the day, it can be affordable and you’ll need to relook your monthly expenses and cut out the unnecessary expenses. You could also look to your company and find out if they offer any medical aid benefits through which you can receive a medical aid package at a reduced fee or at no cost on behalf of the company.
You know, now, how important it is and it’s a lot easier to find the money for something this important than you may think. And you don’t need to look at complete medical aid options alone, there are different levels of coverage that may suit your minimal needs at a more affordable cost.
- Comprehensive medical aid
- Income-based medical aid
- Hospital plans (with savings)
- Limited day-to-day cover
The goal is to make sure you and your dependants are covered in an accident or emergency so that you can get the healthcare you need, without having to stress about finances.