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Consumers ditching pricy medical aid

Nov 29 2012 11:31

The poll found:

  • 35% of people have never shopped around for cheaper medical aid
  • 17% of people have not reviewed their medical aid for at least five years
  • 25% of people can no longer afford to pay for their medical aid
  • 23% of people shop around for cheaper medical aid annually

  1. Review your medical aid regularly: Your circumstances or needs may have changed so your current scheme may not be cost-effective anymore. Shop around for quotes from at least three different schemes and compare features and costs.
  2. Scrap the lifestyle benefits: If you aren’t making use of the gym memberships and other lifestyle options that cost you extra, then ditch them.
  3. Consider a hospital plan or downgrading: You can’t afford the comprehensive cover but you are healthy as an ox. Consider a hospital plan instead, particularly if you don’t visit the doctor that often and have no dependents. Alternatively, if you are healthy and have easy access to your schemes network facilities then consider joining your medical aid or another’s network scheme. The costs can be lower but you are only allowed to use doctors and hospitals linked to that network.
  4. Create your own savings account: If you don’t visit the doctor that often then put the money into an investment account instead of your medical savings account. That way you will gather interest on the funds if you don’t make use of them.
  5. Understand your scheme: What are the benefits and restrictions? Get to know your scheme well and ask your broker if you don’t understand the jargon on your contract.
  6. You are not always subject to waiting periods: If you are changing options, for example, then medical schemes can’t impose a waiting period. However, if your previous waiting period hasn’t finished then it could still apply.
  7. Don't confuse a hospital plan with a hospital cash back plan: As seen on TV a hospital cash plan pays you per day spent in hospital, and not for hospital expenses.

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