Zerina Richards, Advisor Sales Channel Manager at Bestmed Medical Scheme.
Financial pressures are affecting everyone and taking steps to cut down on monthly expenses is a great way to free up more of your money for the things that matter.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make, however, is to cancel your medical aid completely in the process of tightening the belt, especially when you consider the significant financial burden should you have unexpected medical emergencies.
That being said, there are ways you can make sure, firstly, that you are not spending more than you should on medical aid, and secondly, that you and your loved ones have sufficient cover for your health needs – or that the scheme you are with offers rich value-added benefits.
Get a healthcare advisor
There are many medical aid options in the market and choosing the right one is not always easy. Every person and household have different needs and different levels of affordability, which is why having a healthcare advisor who can complete a needs analysis and explain competing options is a good way to identify the correct option for your needs and your pocket. They can review your chronic conditions, and current and future healthcare needs as well as your budget, to propose the right option for you.
Consider downgrading – not cancelling
Many South Africans have decided to change their plans to suit their pockets, opting out of comprehensive plans in favour of more affordable options available to them. These range from entry-level plans that mainly cover hospitalisation, to plans with additional ‘savings’ or out-of-hospital accounts and comprehensive plans that provide extensive healthcare cover.
While downgrading is always preferred over cancelling your plan, it is important to ensure that your new plan and scheme provide sufficient cover as this will affect your future claims and potential out-of-pocket costs.
Whether you are on an affordable hospital plan, or a top-of-the-range comprehensive plan it is important to choose a scheme that provides a variety of options that cover not only the basics but also cover the most important items such as maternity care, preventative care as well as managed care programmes for the likes of oncology and diabetes.
Reconsider unused loyalty programs
While loyalty and rewards-based programmes offer some attractive benefits, like free or discounted gym memberships or cashback on fuel spend, many people don’t take full enough advantage of these programmes to justify the monthly cost of their memberships.
If you aren’t quite meeting those daily steps or fitness goals to rack up those reward points, consider cancelling the extra expenses that these programmes bring. You can always sign up again in the future if you wish, or do your homework and take advantage of free wellness programmes and inclusive benefits available with existing plans.
Bestmed focuses on innovating with wellness in all aspects of life, including fitness, nutrition and emotional wellbeing. Our Tempo Wellness Programme is available on all plans at no additional cost, allowing members to complete health assessments and visit a bio kineticist for a fitness test or dietician for a nutritional assessment, to name a few.