Students may sometimes opt to take their own medical aid separately from parents, or at times are forced to resign from a parent’s medical aid. With limited resources at their disposal, students often search for the cheapest medical aid possible. However, it is important to realise that in South Africa there is no specific medical aid that is significantly cheaper than another yet offers the same benefit. In other words, it is not about cheap medical aid but more correctly about a cheaper medical aid plan. Foreign students who are studying in South Africa need to be aware that they are required to have medical aid cover. Sometimes they are misled into buying other forms of health insurance which is not a true medical aid.
Student Needs on Medical Aid
Any person joining a medical aid needs to take various factors into consideration. First and foremost it is about affordability as it is pointless starting up on a medical aid only to terminate membership a short while thereafter. Secondly one should consider their individual health needs. Although students are generally younger and often healthier, nobody is prone from injury in an accident or related medical emergency.
In fact with students partaking in sometimes risky behaviour compared to older adults, it is important to ensure that a suitable medical aid plan provides for cover in this regard. Any student with a pre-existing ailment should also take into consideration their needs, either present or future, as the condition persists and possibly worsens. A medical aid broker may therefore be able to advise a person accordingly.
Hospital Plan for Students
Sometimes a hospital plan medical aid is a better option for students. Not only are these plans affordable, but they also provide the most essential service that a student may require which is cover when hospitalised. University and technikon students may have basic health care facilities like student clinics on their campus. Although these clinics are managed by nurses, students can at least access primary health care services.
These clinics may not be available at every college but there may be other alternatives. Usually general practitioners and other doctors or dentists in the area of an educational institution is familiar with student budgets and may be offering discounted cash rates to students. This may work out better for students who do not have pay for a comprehensive medical aid without out of hospital benefit. Since they are younger and usually healthier, students may not use as much of this day-to-day benefits as children and the elderly. A hospital plan medical aid will therefore suffice.
Costs of Cheapest Student Medical Aid Plans
A cheap medical aid in South Africa can start for as little as R450 per month depending on the plan. This is the cost for just a single person. These cheap plans may have both in-hospital and out-of-hospital cover. However, it is important to read the fine print. Budget plans which are available on most medical aids limit a student to only certain clinics, doctors and specific hospital groups. In other words, other private doctors and hospitals may refuse to accept the medical aid for treatment and hospital admission.
It is important for students to weigh out the pros and cons of being on their own medical aid, taking the cheapest plan or considering a hospital plan only. Sometimes it is cheaper in the greater scheme of things to stay on a parent’s medical aid as a dependent. All medical aids in South Africa are obliged to keep a dependent on a parent’s medical aid if the child can prove that he or she is a student of an accredited educational institution. However, there may be some complications with monthly contributions especially if it is a company medical aid. Nevertheless individual medical aids will be able to assist a student accordingly or a medical aid broker can help students find the best and cheapest cover that they can afford.