What to do when you can’t afford medical aid - before you give up hope, there’s an option you might not know about!

   

Jade Poole from I Write Words

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What if I told you that there was an option where you could still have access to private healthcare and it was affordable too?

For so many of us, medical aid may seem like more of a luxury than a necessity. When times are tight, we are then left with the option to either cancel our policies or downgrade to a hospital plan, but even the most basic plans on medical aid come with a big price tag attached.

So, what are the options if you just can’t afford medical aid? Well, let’s take a look…

Public healthcare

Of course, when you can’t afford medical aid, private healthcare is out of the question due to the high medical bills you are left to pay without any form of medical cover. You are then left to seek treatment at public hospitals.

A number of people have reported that some government hospitals offer good service and are equipped with enough staff and medical equipment. Whilst others have been mistreated, left to wait for hours until they see a doctor, are denied the basics like a bed and linen and are often disrespected by doctors and nurses.

The sad truth is that without the proper funding, government hospitals lack the right number of staff and medical supplies, let alone basic furniture like beds and other equipment like wheelchairs.

In my own personal experience, I watched a man being wheeled to the emergency room on an office chair - not a bed or a wheelchair, an office chair. He seems to be holding his chest and struggling to breathe, the poor man was most likely having a heart attack. And I know I am not the only one with a terrible story about public healthcare.

Of course, I am not disregarding the excellent nurses and doctors there are available in some clinics, and I salute those hard-working men and women, they certainly have their hands full.

The reality of the matter is that only 13% of South Africans can afford to belong to a medical scheme, and the remaining 87% rely on other alternatives.

The affordable alternative to medical aid that gives you access to private healthcare

I refused to believe that medical aid was the only option we had when it came to having access to private healthcare and good medical care.

In doing some research, I came across something not many people know about, the affordable alternative to medical aid, it’s called health insurance.

A simple Google search for health insurance companies in South Africa will bring up a number of names and product options. But before you go and do that and become pretty overwhelmed with the results, let’s first take a look at what health insurance is

What is health insurance?

Health insurance is a form of short term insurance that helps you cover the costs of private healthcare. There are a range of different options, from basic hospital plans for emergencies and more extensive cover for day to day doctor visits and routine care too.

Health insurance is different from medical aid because medical aid is required by law to cover a list of 200 medical issues known as PMBs (Prescribed Minimum Benefits). With health insurance, the products and benefits are limited to a certain sum assured to help cover the cost of medical care, giving you an exact number when it comes to how much cover you get for certain things.

What health insurance options are there?

Like I said, the pickings are plenty when it comes to finding a health insurance company, but after doing some investigating, I came across one company that seemed to stand out from the rest… Oneplan.

The reason why I was immediately more interested in Oneplan is because of a few things. Firstly, each of their health insurance plans, with the most basic starting at R365 per month, included cover for routine care too.

This means that not only are you covered for emergency care, but doctor visits too! You can even go to the dentist, optometrist and have your scripted medication covered. The best part is that they pay you before you see the doctor, this means you don’t want to wait until to payday get the medical attention you need!

The awesome thing about health insurance is that you can get your family on the same plan as you! Meaning your loved ones are covered too!

And here’s where it gets better...

If you already have medical aid, then you can use both to your advantage!

You can use health insurance as a form of gap cover and extra cover for when your medical aid savings run out!

Do some of your own research and see what you come across, I promise, you won’t be disappointed.



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