Identifying Effective and Affordable Hospital Plans in South Africa - Medshield
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Identifying Effective and Affordable Hospital Plans in South Africa

Posted in Articles   |   July 24th, 2018

In evaluating hospital plans in South Africa, one should probably start by taking a closer look at the various organisations that are behind them. The medical aid industry has not been without its difficulties and, in the past, more than one among its ranks has found itself unable to meet the accumulated claims burden from its reserve of premiums. In this industry, longevity is probably one of the most reliable indicators of dependability and, with a history that dates back to 1968, there can be very little doubt that any product offered by Medshield will prove to be sound investment.

Public vs. Private Healthcare Sectors

The dependable public healthcare services, once available at modest charges or even free to those in need, have deteriorated rapidly as a result of increased costs for which the state coffers no longer gave sufficient funds. Faced with an uncertain future, many of its best professionals have also been forced to seek an outlet for their skills within the private sector which, ironically, must cope with precisely the same escalating costs.

Providers of private healthcare services enjoy the support of the country’s medical aid schemes that are responsible, collectively, for more than three quarters of its income. Due to the financial constraints experienced by so many of their members in recent times, a growing proportion of that funding is now obtained from the premiums generated by various hospital plans. These are becoming widely accepted as the more affordable option in South Africa when compared to the traditional medical schemes.

Hospital Plans today

The concept is certainly not a new one. In fact, it is an adaptation of a basic product that was originally introduced by long-term insurance companies to provide a fixed daily contribution towards the cost of hospitalisation. In terms of the provisions offered by this newer option, however, members enjoy a much greater array of benefits as well as cover for a far larger proportion of the costs arising, not just from admission to a private healthcare institution, but from a variety of other contingencies also.

Perhaps the most significant of these is the inclusion of the so-called Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB) previously missing from this type of cover. In accordance with the provisions of the Medical Schemes Act of 1998, all those who fall under its regulation are compelled to fully cover all of the prescribed costs arising from treatment and medication for any of 25 named, chronic illnesses and which, therefore, may or may not necessarily be associated with an actual admission. This represents a huge improvement to this option and one which long-term insurance companies that offer medical policies are not obliged to include and will be unlikely to do so without a proportionate hike in their premiums.

The reality is that, if you were insuring your car, unless bound to a particular company by a finance agreement you would be likely to shop around. When selecting an affordable hospital plan in South Africa, a comparative shop remains a good policy and there are now a number of websites that undertake the comparison for you, simplifying the selection process considerably. In particular, a prospective member will need to look for both what has been included under the scheme’s benefits and, often more importantly, what may have been excluded as well as any preliminary waiting period that may result in delayed access to funding generally or in certain specified circumstances.

What can Medshield offer you?

Medshield has long been an innovator in its field and currently provides cover for the healthcare needs of almost 200,000 principle and dependant members. Among the products it is offering during 2013 is one known as ‘Essential’. It has been widely received by young people who see it as an excellent choice for those whose basic health is generally good and for whom the higher premiums associated with certain of the other products in the Medshield portfolio may be impractical at the present time.

In reality, it is an option that is able to provide the member with a great deal more than just cover for the costs that may be occasioned by an admission or included as a prescribed minimum benefit. A proportion of the annual allowance is provided by a personal savings and is applicable to services such as basic dentistry to a maximum value of R5000 annually. Essential from Medshield combines the facilities of chain of ultra-modern clinics with one of the most affordable and comprehensive hospital plans in South Africa.

For more information about the Essential plan, simply contact us today.

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