Here we take a look and provide you with a practical guideline as to what type of Medical Aid may best suite your particular life stage. As one goes through different life stages our needs may well change and so will our expectations of the type of Medical Aid cover we may need.
The type of Medical Aid plan that would best suits one’s particular need criteria and affordability may well differ vastly to that of your friends, colleagues and parents, as each person’s Medical Aid requirements are as unique as you are.
Medical Scheme in South Africa charge a standard rate irrespective of age. This is known as Community Rating. There is however, an indirect factor that may affect the cost of your Medical Aid plan known as a Late Joiner Penalty.
A Late Joiner Penalty may be imposed on members joining a Medical Scheme over the age of 35 who have not belonged to a Medical Aid plan or had a break in membership of more than 90 days since terminating their previous Medical Aid cover. The issue is that the longer you leave this the more it will land up costing you.
STARTING OUT PHASE – ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
The young, independent adolescent is usually relatively healthy, fit and single. Cost is a sensitive issue as many are just staring out in their careers. In addition one has the attitude it will never happen to me. Consider the situation if you were hospitalised due to an accident or sudden illness. How would you pay the huge financial bill facing you? A basic Hospital Plan will provide you with peace of mind here.
FAMILY ON THE GO PHASE – GROWING FAMILY
As one settles down and gets married and looks at starting a family, ones needs change as we have to now look at a family dynamic. If you are considering starting a family and having children you may well need to consider a Hospital Plan with Day-to-Day Benefits as you need to look at gynaecologist consultations, pregnancy scans, paediatrician visits when baby is born and these cumulative visit cost money.
Some Medical Schemes offer maternity programmes as part of risk rather than coming from your Day-to-Day Medical Savings Account.
MATURE PHASE – SETTLED FAMILIES
For the middle-aged couple or family with children growing up, where accidents like breaking an arm and orthodontics are very distinct realities, you may well want to analyse the level of cover you enjoy for emergencies room visits, physiotherapy and orthodontics. Here you may need to look at more comprehensive cover depending on the family dynamic.
EMPTY NEST PHASE – CHILDREN OUT THE HOUSE
Once the children have all grown up and are out of the house you are hopefully starting to enjoy life look forward to long weekend away, reduced stress levels and not visiting the doctor so often. You may well wish to downscale your Medical Aid plan. Here you may look at a Hospital Plan with a Medical Savings Account for routine Day-to-Day medical expenses.
RETIREE PHASE – ELDERLY
Once in retirement, the reality in South Africa is that many of us are forced to downgrade our Medical Aid plan due to either a loss of employer subsidy and limited pension savings. Ideally a retiree should be sufficiently covered for any health or medical event. A Comprehensive Medical Aid plan is best suited in this particular instance – unless the retiree or couple is healthy and active. It is wise to look at some sort of Financial Planning to realize the dreams of being able to afford Comprehensive Medical Aid cover when you retire.