Choosing a medical aid, also known as medical or health insurance, is something that requires careful thought and objective planning. The first thing you need to consider is your medical aid requirements. This will require you to determine exactly how much cover you need. Considering your dependents will also factor in this decision. For instance, if you are a 25 year old single male, your medical aid requirements will differ vastly from a 40 year old husband and father of two teenagers.
Pre-existing medical conditions, possible hereditary conditions and lifestyle will factor in the amount of cover required as well as the monthly premium. That said, buying the cheapest cover you find will probably not offer sufficient cover, so compiling a list of medical aids and their benefits versus cost, although tedious, will serve you and your family well in the long run. Another factor to keep in mind when compiling your list of possible medical aids will be general customer satisfaction. There are websites where users can submit their experiences both good and bad. These sites will assist you in making an informed decision regarding medical aids, pertaining to their customer care.
Another factor to consider is whether your prospective medical aid scheme is well established or not. Medical costs can be vast and your medical aid should be financially secure to pay out millions to their members at any given time. Imagine an epidemic hits your city. Hundreds of thousands of people claim for massive medical bills from the same company simultaneously. Imagine your medical aid cannot meet the financial obligations resulting from this catastrophe. Avoid being the person whose medical scheme needs a bail-out because they are unable to meet their commitments. Checking a medical scheme's credit rating is a good way to ascertain its financial stability.
So ultimately one word springs to mind when choosing medical aid… research! Researching prospective medical aid schemes’ financial standing, customer relations and benefit offerings will help you choose correctly and stop you and your family from being left in the lurch in the event of disaster. If the process of researching does become too tedious due to your busy schedule, other options are also available. Once you have determined the cover required and budget available, you can also approach a medical insurance broker to give you all the options available. Although this will be more convenient, keep in mind that the broker will pocket a commission. A broker might be able to assist you with other types of health insurance policies like gap cover which can be used to top-up your medical aid policy.
Your employer may also have a group medical scheme in place. Joining that policy will usually save you quite a significant amount so ask your employer about these benefits. Finally, if you are a qualified professional, work in specific industry or even belong to a certain demographic of people, there may be a specialised medical aid scheme that will offer you a reduced rate, based purely on those factors. Wherever possible, look for medical aids that offer these specialised policies.
Stuart Broad is a marketer who works for a number of South African Medical Aids sites. If you are looking for a budget for medical schemes, he recommends trying to get Medical Aid Schemes at Cheapmedicalaid.