What's The Plan? How To Afford A Private Healthcare Without Medical Aid


Jade Poole from I Write Words

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Private healthcare is something not many of us can afford without some form of medical cover like medical aid. But what happens when something goes wrong, and you don’t have medical aid? Do you risk it at a public clinic? What if we told you there was another option (and a more affordable one at that)?

Here’s the thing…

Private medical care is expensive. There is no way around it.

And without medical aid, your only option is to risk it at a public healthcare facility. And although some of these clinics are well run and offer excellent patient care, a more significant amount of these clinics lack the funds, resources, staff and even the beds to accommodate for the growing number of patients.

We have all heard the horror stories associated with public healthcare clinics.

Your best bet is to have some form of medical cover in place.

Up until now, you may have thought that medical aid was your only option. But we are here to tell you about another form of medical cover, it’s called health insurance (and it’s impressive).

Read: How To Afford Unexpected Doctor Visits (And The Expected Visits Too!)

The price of private healthcare

Before we get into the benefits of health insurance and how it works, let’s first give you an idea of the price of private healthcare in South Africa.

A doctor’s fee for a general consult is typically around R400 (or more).

Here’s a basic outline of the costs for doctors

●     GP Visit and Dentist Examination: From R400

●     Optometrist check-up / eye exam: R300

●     Paediatrician check-up: From R550

When it comes to hospital stays, these prices seem insignificant.

The cost of private hospitals

The costs of healthcare in private hospitals tend to vary. With government hospitals, there is a single admin fee for regardless of the medical condition and patient.

Children, disabled patients and pensioners cannot expect to receive free treatment in private healthcare facilities. Most private hospitals will also not make use of discounted rates for these kinds of patients.

This means that if you do not have medical aid, you have to pay the deposit upfront in order to be admitted.

The deposit

This deposit amount can vary and will depend on the medical condition to be treated and the hospital. The cost of this might range from as low as R3000 or be as high as R15 000.

If you are a patient who has suffered a heart attack and is in need of bypass surgery, then you might have to pay a cash deposit of R50 000 or more.

Pretty scary amounts, right? But this is the price we pay for good health.

Additional medical costs

What’s more, is that the costs don’t end there (sorry guys). These numbers are only taking into account the deposit. This amount is seen as a surety for your medical bills you will accrue whilst staying in the hospital.

Depending on the ward, where you live and the chosen private hospital, a bed can cost between R1200 to R2000 a day.

This only includes the cost of staying in the hospital and your meals.

On top of this, you will have to pay for consultation fees for any doctors and specialists involved in the treatment.

Then there’s the medication and any disposable items used during your stay.

If you require surgery, then you will be billed according to the amount of time spent in the operating theatre as well as the cost of the anaesthetist and surgeon.

Phew - nearly done!

Finally, there are the costs of any tests and medical exams conducted. These include CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds.

How to avoid medical expenses

Now that you have a good idea of just how much private healthcare costs, let’s go back to the reason for this article….health insurance.

Health insurance is a form of short term insurance that helps cover the bills of GP visits, accidents, emergencies and illness.

For a small monthly premium, you will have a specified amount of cover for certain medical events.

The reason why health insurance is more affordable than medical aid is because you know EXACTLY how much cover you have and for what.

For example, with Oneplan’s Blue Plan includes R190 000 accident cover and R330 for doctor visits.

Here’s what makes our health insurance hassle-free:

  1. We pay you BEFORE you see your doctor
  2. Team of nurses for you to direct your health questions to on our smart Oneplan App
  3. Amazing cover for routine care (we also cover prescription medication)
  4. We let you go to ANY private doctor or hospital of your choice.

Have a look at our range of health plans here.

Health insurance can help protect you against high medical bills, turning an unpredictable (and unaffordable) expense into something you an ongoing premium you can afford and budget for.

Yours in health,


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