Medical aid in 8 easy steps

Hunting around for the right medical aid can be both confusing and tiresome. There are so many variables, rewards programmes and offers promising you the world. We asked our medical aid expert, Jeff Corbett, to give us some advice. Here’s his breakdown of how to get started with making the right medical aid choices.

Step 1
Make a decision to get medical cover. This is not negotiable. Do not believe that you will never need medical aid.

Step 2
Decide what you are prepared to pay. A rough guideline is to accept that you will be spending 10% of your income on medical cover. If you are earning R 10 000 per month, you should budget for around R1000 per month. If you earn less than R8300 per month, there are cheaper plans available for you. If you earn less than R 3900 per month, your medical aid could cost you less than R500 per month.

Step 3
Choose a few reputable companies and ask for quotes on the cheapest hospital plan. Make a decision that this is the least you will be taking out. To compare available options, visit comparison websites such as Justmoney.

Step 4
Consider what you paid in medical bills last year and what you think you may pay next year. Based on this information, you may need to consider a higher level plan and spend more than the budgeted 10%. If you paid nothing to doctors last year, a hospital plan is likely to be the most cost-effective option for you.
Remember – keeping fit and healthy is the best way to reduce your doctor’s bills. For tips and guides on how to save on your health, as well as sales and deals on all health products, visit our Health and Wellness section.

Step 5
Be wary of medical aids that pay 100% of tariff. These plans pay the full hospital bill but very few in-hospital specialists (surgeons and anesthetists) are willing to be compensated at this rate.
You should choose a plan with at least 200% cover, or add a gap cover to the 100% scheme. If the 200% schemes are too expensive, and you are an extremely healthy person, a 100% scheme is better than nothing, as they all cover emergency trauma at cost (until you are stabilised).

Step 6
For a reduction in premium, consider plans that restrict the choice of hospitals.

Step 7
Seriously consider the medical aid’s loyalty program and your medical premiums could be paid for you (the net effect could be a free medical aid).

Step 8
Speak to a financial advisor to go through all the options available to you before making a decision.

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