If you do a search for medical aids, you will find every provider saying things like the best medical aid in the country, best rates, widest coverage, basically promising you the moon. Medical Aids are not created equal. The reality is that you need to find a medical aid that is catering for your needs.
Medical Aids are not created equal.Ross Henderson
Now, the medical aid will not just create a customized plan for you, although the idea sounds awesome right! I actually have come across brokers and medical aid executives stating this in the media. The reality, it’s total hogwash. There is no feasible way for them to do this and you shouldn’t expect it either. What you can expect though is that your medical aid will have an option that suits your individual needs including things such as
- Type of cover such as comprehensive, executive, essential and hospital cover
- A broad enough network of doctors, hospitals and pharmacy’s that are in network to be practical for where you live
- Nationally recognized and accepted by the majority of medical providers
- Automated claims tracking mechanisms without you having to manually submit a claim
- Online tools to help you track your claims, your monthly premium cost, the balance of your medical savings account (MSA)
- Information on your current chronic medication and when new scripts are required
- Adequate customer support
- Escalation email or phone number for issues that need to be addressed ASAP.
The reality is that even though this may be the basic requirements that you will be looking for, beware of hype and marketing versus the reality on the ground. Many medical insurance or medical aid companies are aware of how important your medical cover is to you and they try to use this in their marketing which is not always quite what they state on the brochures. So ask questions. Probe. Do you due diligence. Don’t stop till you feel comfortable.
Make sure that you write down the key areas that are your minimum requirements. These are things on which you won’t budge or negotiate. Then write down wants and nice to have’s. These are the things that you would ideally like to have included in your package but not having all of them or just a couple of them being included in the medical aid plan that you select will not be the end of the world. Also consider the reality of your needs.
Do you take chronic medication? Are you looking for dental, vision benefits? Are you just looking for the bare essential hospital cover i.e., if your in an accident and go the emergency room, you will be covered. Also remember though, that like with everything, you get what you pay for. Ideally, you should be looking for a plan that covers your medical needs, something that you can grow into and that will also provide you with value for money. This is not necessarily executive cover or just basic essential hospital cover either. Here is where you need to go through the options and plans one by one referring to your notes made on your minimum requirements and also writing down any new ideas or thoughts that may occur to you and ranking the plans accordingly. Do the same with the medical aid companies and voila, you will have now hopefully selected the best medical aid for you and your personal circumstances.
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