What is a medical aid?

A medical aid is chiefly a medical scheme, or plan, that has been adopted by the governmental agencies to provide a type of insurance package for those members participating in the scheduled payment plan. It operates on the law of large numbers, meaning that there is a larger pool of members paying into the pool of funds than there are drawing from it.

In this way, contributing members and their dependents facing a large or unexpected medical expense will still be able to receive treatment where, without a medical aid, they might otherwise be unable to afford it. What it amounts to for the members is having the means to pay for medical treatment as the best way to assure that the treatment received will be qualitative.

This is due, in part, to the fact that all physicians and facilities associated with medical schemes must be qualified, licensed and registered with governing agencies. By meeting standards that are legally mandated, practitioners are encouraged to provide their best in medical care.

We All Get Sick

It is a given that everyone is at risk of landing up in hospital. Illness or injury does not play favourites in this way. If it isn’t to see a doctor, a majority of South Africans are still seeing the chemist or buying medications over the counter. There are allergies, flu and the common cold that may coincide with visits to the doctor or even hospitalisation. In the simplest of terms, a medical aid scheme is a socialistic arrangement among the members where each member’s contribution is serving to assist someone else’s medical expenses.

Tailor A Plan

There are different levels of coverage from which to select. It may be of more concern to a member only to have hospitalisation coverage in the event of an accident or emergency, while another member may prefer to include pharmaceuticals and doctor’s office visits. There are also optical and dental procedures that would benefit from coverage.

It is Important to Understand your Plan in Advance

The comprehensive nature of private healthcare can become rather complicated for the layman to understand. As with most contingency plans, the benefits of a medical aid are only first perceived when the need arises. This can be attributed to the amount of information that typically must be absorbed when first being introduced to any form of cover. It is common for people to take a step back from “information overload” until such time as a catastrophic episode occurs, such as a R150,000 heart bypass operation.

No Need to Go Without

The alternative of turning to the public health care system equates to receiving substandard care from South Africa’s government hospitals, despite the fact that these services are free of charge. As more people turn to these poorly managed clinics and hospitals, the facilities continue to be stretched too thin to result in the best care. In addition, South Africa faces increasing cases of HIV and AIDS across the workforce, taking a toll on the system.

Private healthcare is expensive, whereas a medical aid is less expensive due to the participation by so many individuals. Employers may contribute to the cost, and the insurance company is able to offer the coverage at a lower cost to members. Anyone who chooses to participate in medical aids in South Africa is accepted, without the threat of discrimination or exclusion, even when facing serious illnesses such as cancer or HIV.

It is the best option at the best price while avoiding the severe financial loss associated with expenses due to essential procedures.

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