Finding an affordable medical aid is no easy task. The right medical aid is a matter of both price and benefits. There is no single scheme that can claim to be the best medical aid in South Africa. Each has different plans with different benefits at different prices. There is no denying that medical aid is expensive but it is often a necessity that one cannot do without, especially if you have a family.
Consider the cost of private health services – it is expensive for just one person. Now consider the cost for your entire family to see private doctors and be admitted to a private hospital. An affordable medical aid for families depends on what fits in easily into your budget but at the same time it has to adequately cover your family members with benefits that they need.
Family Medical Aid
Understanding your family’s needs in terms of medical care is important before you sign up for medical aid cover. Its not just about finding the cheapest medical aid. You need to carefully look at the benefits. Think about this – while braces and orthodontist fees are not a major concern for adults, it is something to consider if you have children. And it can be extremely expensive if you do not have the benefit on your medical aid to cover these services.
This is just one example of how you should look at the benefits when searching for a family medical aid. There are other factors that need to be taken into account and this is why speaking to a medical aid broker or the scheme about the different options and benefits is so important.
Your needs also changes when you are a family with young children or older children. And then there are the families that no longer have child dependants and it is just the two adults – main member and adult dependant. Although medical aid plans are not shaped according to age, you still need to look at the benefits you and the other members are more likely to utilise.
Benefits are often shared among all members of a medical aid and when an entire family is being covered, it is important to ensure that these benefits are adequate. One child who is repeatedly ill and requires medical care can quickly drain these benefits thereby leaving the other members of the scheme without adequate benefits for the year.
What one person deems affordable may not be so to another person. It is a matter of your disposable income and that of your spouse or partner if they are also working. You need to factor in the cost of your medical aid contributions into your monthly budget and make sure that you can afford to pay for it thereafter. There is no point having cover that you cannot pay for throughout the year.
The medical needs of your family needs to tie in with your affordability and if you have more money to spend, it makes sense to sign up for better cover with more benefits. This ensures that one member of the family does not utilise so much of the benefits for the year that other members cannot enjoy cover. Ultimately you would be paying for medical aid that not all members can use.
Children Covered For Free
Fortunately affordable medical aid for families does not mean that you will break your monthly budget if you have many children. These days there are several schemes offering affordable medical aid plans where you will only have to pay for the first 2 or 3 children. All the other children thereafter are covered for free. While it makes medical cover affordable for larger families, do not be too hasty to opt for these plans immediately. Look at the benefits – will it be sufficient if you have 2 or 3 members who are repeatedly ill?
Do not get distracted with the non-medical extras that some medical aids offer these days. The fact is that you need to focus on your family’s needs first – the whole point of medical aid is for it to cover you adequately for your medical needs and of course, it must be affordable.