As with any product or service, we are all looking for the best option at the cheapest price. However, cheap medical aid is actually a myth similar to the idea of the “best medical aid” in South Africa. The fact of the matter is that no medical aid is significantly cheaper or more expensive than another. There are cheaper and more expensive plans within every medical aid but this is due to the differences in benefits offered on each plan. Sometimes it is just a matter of common sense. If there was a cheap medical aid in South Africa then in all likelihood it would drive all other schemes out of the market. However, there is over 100 medical aids in existence in South Africa, about 30 of which are open to the general public and they are all doing fairly good business.
How to find cheap medical aids?
It is simple – look for a cheaper plan, not for a cheaper medical aid company. Every medical aid scheme has more than one plan on offer. The plans with the best benefits are more expensive and those with lower benefits are cheaper. However, a cheaper plan on medical aid company A is about the same price as a cheaper plan with medical aid company B provided that the benefits are the same. All too often South African consumers become confused because they do not compare “apples with apples”. This is fuelled by misleading advertising and inaccurate information being disseminated by ignorant medical aid members.
Some medical aids do offer perks in the way of gym membership, cheap airline tickets and even credit cards. However, this does not mean that the medical aid is cheaper in terms of the medical benefits it offers. After all, you join a medical aid for the benefits in offers in terms of your medical bills, not for its additional perks. At other times a medical aid may seem to be cheaper because it offers less benefits which is not immediately obvious to the consumer. Therefore the advice of an accredited medical aid broker who is dealing with several schemes is invaluable in making an informed decision.
Cheap Medical Aid Prices
You can find a medical aid hospital plan for a single person for R750 per month or a bare basic network only medical aid plan for R500 per month. It really depends on what you are looking for and what you can afford. Do not be fooled by employees who tell you that they are paying less for their company medical aid. These schemes are not cheaper but with the employer paying a portion of the monthly premium, the employees contribution is significantly lower. However, company medical aid is a perk offered by an employer. It is not mandatory for an employer to do so in South Africa. Similarly certain restricted medical aids may be able to slightly discount its medical aids plans because it caters for a unique group of individuals.
The best way to choose the medical aid plan for you is to look at your budget and weight it out against your medical needs and future needs. If you have dependents, then you will also have to consider your family’s present and future medical needs. This is not always easy to do but be realistic. Is you child an asthmatic on chronic medication? Are you planning on expanding your family soon? Have you been told that you are at risk of certain diseases? In the ideal setting we would all want the maximum medical benefits for the cheapest possible price. However, this is not a reality and every medical aid therefore offers multiple plans to suit almost every budget. The bottom line though is that medical aid in South Africa is not cheap but you will truly appreciate the protection it offers when you are ill and need it the most.
Cheap Medical Aid Comparison
With extensive searching you may come across a medical aid plan that seems cheap by your standards. Do not just sign up for the medical aid without carefully reading the fine print. Ask the medical aid for a detailed prospectus and compare the schedule of benefits with other medical aid offerings. Sometimes you may save a few hundred rand on one plan but end up forking out thousands for medical services that are not covered. Compare cheap medical aids both by price and benefits to make a more informed decision and avoid the advice of friends, family members and colleagues who are not in the medical aid industry. The help of a medical aid broker is therefore advisable. Alternatively you can speak to your company about a medical aid that they have in the offering as you may find that it is a better deal than signing up for an open medical aid on your own.