Students don’t have a lot of expendable income, if any at all. What’s more, the money that’s at their disposal is often there for the basics, food, electricity and let’s include entertainment. Afterall, what is university if not a time to work hard and play hard? Medical aid is often the last thing a student thinks about spending money on.
When it comes to students and their medical needs, things can get tricky. If you’re 21 or under then you’re likely to still be on your parent’s medical aid. However, as soon as you turn 22, you are on your own. And, not everyone is able to finish their studies and be qualified to work by the time they are 21. Which means that somehow they have to find some kind of medical cover that’s affordable. Furthermore, if you don’t sign up for some type of medical cover as an adult (even if you are still a student) you will be penalised in the future when you do decide on health insurance.
Comprehensive medical aid is an expense that few South Africans can afford
Fortunately, there are many different options for covering your medical needs. Comprehensive medical aid will offer you the most coverage should you fall chronically ill that requires ongoing expenses or should you require hospitalisation. However, other types of medical aid packages will cover the most expensive costs. In fact, it is best to look into different types of hospital insurance in South Africa. Hospital plans are the best option for this type of medical cover as they are far more affordable than most other options. And, therefore, hospital plans are best for students.
The worst possible scenario is landing up in hospital, having a necessary procedure and believing that you’re covered only to receive the bill and realise what you need to still pay in. Hospital plans will provide cover for the most important medical procedures and treatment. This includes anything performed at hospital level. Every hospital plan differs slightly but because the plans have to fall within set guidelines they are all very specific about what they offer their members.
South African law stands behind quality healthcare for all
The South African law has also created a specific list of Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs) which must be covered by every type of medical plan or cover. By providing this cover to the public, everyone has a chance at quality healthcare. PMBs cover 27 chronic conditions which include the likes of conditions such as asthma or hypertension as well as difficult and severe illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia.
Hospital plans cover the basics and then some
Hospital plans are governed by the PMBs too but sometimes what the plan is prepared to pay is different to what the hospital, surgeons and specialists’ tariffs are. And, this is where the member will be expected to cover the shortfall. To ensure that you don’t end up covering this shortfall you can opt to sign up for hospital insurance which is similar to gap cover. This costs substantially less than medical aid or even your current hospital plan and it will give you cash as soon as you’re in hospital. Some comprehensive medical aids include gap cover in their schemes but hospital plans generally don’t do so. This is a viable additional option for a student to consider adding onto their health plan. Be warned though, hospital insurance cannot replace medical aid or a hospital plan. The cash benefits sound enormous but they won’t cover extended periods in hospital or intensive care because of a severe accident. They simply don’t pay out enough to cover everything you might need especially if your medical situation is fatal. Although you can make use of the medical insurance funds however you please. This is because medical insurance is governed by the Short Term Insurance Act. Once the money is paid to you it can cover everything from doctor’s bills to salary protection or in the case of a family member, funeral costs.
Students are hard pressed to spend money when they are not working and earning an income. Adult students, those over 21, can no longer rely on their parents and yet they must have medical cover. A hospital plan and medical insurance (if possible) is the ideal way for students to ensure they are covered if worst case scenario becomes their reality.