Most of us know that being fit and healthy is the way to go – we’ll not only feel better and live longer, but we’ll also cut down on things like doctor’s visits and medication. Simply put: being healthy saves us money in the long run, so both our bodies and our wallets benefit.
If you can afford private medical aid in South Africa, the medical aid scheme you choose to join is a big decision. But beyond this, the type of lifestyle you lead is also a huge influencer on the type of plan you pick for yourself and your partner within that particular medical scheme. For example, if you live a very healthy and active life, you should try and select a plan that can give you the best rewards for doing so. If you haven’t considered your health and fitness in terms of your medical aid options, here are four questions to ask yourself:
- Am I being rewarded for my choices?
Many companies now offer programmes that provide a multitude of rewards for their members. Going for a run? Eating a healthy meal? You may as well be rewarded for it! Most medical schemes in South Africa have some kind of rewards scheme attached, with different structures and ways of operating. Sanlam Reality for example, gives you discounts on gym memberships just for being a Fedhealth member – making your life not only healthier and more enjoyable, but saving you money in the process.
- Do I need a medical savings plan?
If you’re very fit and healthy, your day-to-day medical expenses are probably lower than most, especially if you don’t have young children. You may only visit the doctor once a year for an annual check-up, as opposed to every month or two if you have a chronic condition, for example. If you struggle to remember the last time you were even on medication, you may want to choose a medical plan that only includes hospital cover for accidents and emergencies, and that doesn’t have a medical savings account (MSA) attached.
Fedhealth’s flexiFED range of plans gives you access to MediVault funds for day-to-day medical expenses, based on your family composition and the plan you choose. The great thing is that you don’t pay for it upfront – you can decide how much you need and only pay for it once you’ve used it. This brings the cost of your medical aid contributions right down, especially if you don’t foresee many claims in the near future.
- What is my family medical history?
You may be fit and healthy now, but unfortunately, there are many serious diseases which are not lifestyle based. Illnesses such as cancer can strike anyone, at any age, and your family history has a direct impact on this. If your parents or other close relatives suffered from any hereditary condition, make sure that your medical aid covers you for treating these conditions in yourself, and at what level. Medical aid companies in South Africa all have to provide a minimum level of cover for a set list of conditions (known as Prescribed Minimum Benefits), in order to provide fair and affordable medical aid to the public. Be sure to research this list to see whether the conditions you are worried about appear there. If not, speak to your medical aid company about your concerns.
- Am I considering having children in future?
Even healthy people can rely heavily on their medical aid: it’s called falling pregnant and having children! If you’re fit and active, and have a romantic partner, you may be thinking about having children somewhere in the distant future. From pregnancy to birth to paediatrician visits, small humans are expensive. While you don’t need to rush out and take out medical aid for this future scenario right now, be aware that you if you fall pregnant without being a medical aid member, the cost of having that child will not be covered by your medical aid. So, you’ll have to fit the bills for your hospital stay, any doctor or anaesthetist fees and various other expenses personally, which can add up to tens of thousands of Rands. Keep this on your radar for the future.
Being fit and healthy is an excellent recipe for living a long and healthy life – and for keeping your medical expenses to a minimum. However, there are still cases where you’d need to rely on your medical aid for cover, no matter how many sit ups you can do. Make sure you’re on the medical aid plan (with the right scheme) that gives you the most benefits for being healthy, but that also gives you the right amount of cover, should you need it.