Be smart about your medical aid.
When you’re feeling the financial pinch at month end, it’s tempting to cancel your medical aid to save in the short term. In the long run, though, you could be in for a nasty surprise.
There are ways to have your medical aid', and save a bit too.
Skip the doctor this time
Instead of making your way to the doctor for every cough and sniffle, stretch out your medical aid benefits and visit the pharmacy for over-the-counter medication. Always monitor your symptoms and if they aren't manageable, then visit the doctor.
Ask about payment structures
Ask your doctor if he offers discounts when you pay cash, or settle the bill immediately. This is better than billing your medical aid at the end of the month. If you pay for small bills throughout the year, you could save your medical aid for pricier or essential health appointments or medications.
Use network GPs
Depending on the plan you’re on, most medical schemes will cover a certain number of visits to doctors who are within the same network. By visiting in-network doctors only, your family can visit a GP when necessary without worrying about depleting your medical aid funds.
Make use of network specialists
Most medical aid schemes work with in-network GPs with fixed payments. Depending on your plan, certain network doctors will be covered by your medical aid or you will pay lower rates. Check with your medical aid to see if they are any specialists with whom they have agreements.
Know your benefits
You may not realise all the benefits that come with your medical aid scheme. For example, some medical aid schemes may cover blood tests, whether they’re done in hospital or not. Read your brochure to brush up on all your advantages!
Enjoy your rewards
Most medical aid schemes have certain reward or “points”. Find out what assistances come with your medical aid and reap those rewards. Some offer savings on gym memberships, movie tickets and car hires.
Pay as you go
Paying for all your over-the-counter medications with your medical aid is tempting, but it could run your medical aid funds dry. Some pharmacies charge a dispensing fee for OTC medicines. This means you would be paying much more by charging it to your medical aid. Try to buy these medications with cash when you can.
Register for chronic medication benefits
If you take chronic medication regularly, you could qualify for certain benefits. This means that your medical aid scheme would pay for it out of a risk pool and you wouldn’t have to touch your savings.
Pay cash to qualify for discounts
Discounts are usually available if you pay cash. An excellent way to benefit from available discounts is to pay cash and then submit a claim to your medical aid to refund the payment.
Submit all your claims
Keep track of all the things you should make claims for, like refunds on medication. This will help stretch your medical aid and spare you extra money.