But, private healthcare is expensive. Receiving care in a private hospital if you’re ill or in an accident can end up costing hundreds of thousands of rand.
Most of us understand the catastrophic nature of serious healthcare costs.
To pay for private care, you have no choice but to have a medical aid!
Private hospitals provide higher standards of care and equipment for advanced diagnostic and other technologies. Nursing and medical professionals are generally better qualified and command higher salaries.
This results in high costs for hospitalisation or care for serious injuries, surgery, or chronic illnesses. Costs you must meet for speedy recovery from illness or injury!
It costs over R 8,500 per night for a premature baby's neonatal stay (and some stay for 5 months) - bed only - no consultations, medicine or medical supplies!
The cost of living in South Africa continues to rise, but medical bills are increasing at an even faster rate!
If you do not “insure” your health, you may never be able to pay for the costs of serious hospitalisation or illness. But, fear not ... because that is what a medical scheme will for you!
Accidents and illnesses are unpredictable and you cannot plan for them.
You have to have a way of accessing immediate funds when they strike. You do not know what your health may be like tomorrow!
A medical aid will allow you to get the best, private treatment you can, without having to experience long, life-threatening delays.
The "golden hour" for life-saving intervention is not a myth!
Most private hospitals will not even admit a patient without medical aid.
(Patients without medical aid will be stabilised and treated at a private hospital, until a room can be found in a public hospital. There is also a divert arrangement, where patients are treated in a private facility, if there is no room available at a public facility - HASA report 2010 - presumably in emergencies)
You also need to be able to get medication quickly. The sooner a serious ailment is properly treated - the quicker your recovery!
And that medication can be expensive, as generic medicines are not the best when it comes to treating serious concerns.
A medical aid will ensure you get what you need!
You can choose a convenient hospital when you need one.
You have no choice with a government hospital or state providers and often they are far from home - an inconvenience for you and your family.
The government ambulance services are slow compared to private services and this can mean the difference between life and death. In addition, if you need medical help in a remote area, a private service will get you to a hospital way more quickly than the state.
The costs of private hospitalisation can very quickly escalate to several hundred thousand rand. Just using an ambulance can be expensive as every single swab, suture and disposable item that is used must be paid for.
Just imagine what 2 weeks in ICU and a month in High Care could cost YOU!
Unless you are super-rich or have a huge amount of money saved - that you can use on medical costs - you are going to place your recovery and health at risk. Do you really want that?
But, for a reasonable monthly contribution, you can have access to unlimited hospital benefits!
Medical aid gives you the ability to choose a convenient hospital when you need one - the best private facilities, the best doctors, nurses, overall medical care and support that money can buy!
If you suffer from conditions such as asthma, cardiac failure, epilepsy, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis then the cost of medicines, treatment and related complications can be a crippling expense.
Medical aids must pay full costs of the diagnosis, treatment and care of these conditions as well as 20 additional chronic illnesses included among the much longer list of prescribed minimum benefits.
Even on only a hospital only benefit plan!
The number of diseases, like cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, certain cancers and now ... dementia, is increasing at an alarming rate.
As a result of today's lifestyles, they are also no longer only for the elderly person, as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke rates are increasingly affecting younger people.
Modern treatment techniques and drugs are so expensive that many without a medical aid, cannot access them. And that has a poor result for recovery.
Lying in a hospital ward is not the time to realise how important the right medical aid really is!
A healthy life is an attainable goal for most people. And joining a medical aid is the first step on that path, because it helps pay for essential check-ups and routine visits to doctors.
It offers cover for tests that are vital for early detection of illness and disease and in getting treatment as soon as possible! If you identify concerns early, the prognosis of a full recovery is multiplied many times over!
Most medical aids offer test for blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and HIV screening. Cover is also offered for mammograms, Pap smears, prostate screening and more.
And the scheme pays for these anyway!
Most schemes offer some sort of wellness and rewards programme.
This is done to incentivise members to get and stay healthy. It also helps reduces claims on the scheme. If you understand and use these programmes, you can gain significant rewards!
The Medical Schemes Act allows for schemes to increase the premium for new members older than 35 - if you have not been on a medical aid before.
So, it is in your interests to join a scheme as soon as you can, because it only gets way more expensive the longer you wait!
A scheme can also add waiting periods for new members. Once you join, and serve those waiting periods out, you will then have full benefits ... always!
Knowing that you and your family can afford to get the best private care, the minute you need it, gives huge peace of mind and security!
South Africa a violent country and events like a car accidents, crime or sport-related incidents can happen to anyone at any age.
A medical scheme relies on cross subsidisation to be affordable. The younger, more healthy members, help pay the greater costs of the older member - and remember that one day you too will be older and have more need for medical aid benefits!
If you wait before you join - like only when you retire - you will get high late joiner penalties, maybe up to 75% per month!
It's insane NOT to have medical aid in South Africa.
You should, at least, have the Private Hospital and Essential Dental benefit plan!
Medical cover is the most important safety net you can buy for yourself and your family.
Consider your health as an investment, for without it you will not be able to earn a living!
If you are forced to take sick leave (and that could be for some time) how will your business survive? Who will look after it the way you do?
Joining a healthcare plan is one of the most important investments you will ever make as a small business owner, because it will allow you to access the best care.... fast.
And that can substantially speed up your recovery, so your business will not suffer and affect other people as well. By keeping yourself healthy, you will eliminate business problems too!
The importance of belonging to a medical aid cannot be underestimated!
They can be way more expensive than a damaged vehicle!
There are a wide variety of plans to choose from and you can be assured, that together, we will find one that suits your needs and budget!
Last update June 29, 2020
Medical Aid Authority Peter Pyburn.
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