Difference between medical aid and a hospital plan
A hospital plan is considered the minimalist alternative to a medical aid plan. Hospital plans ensure that you receive the best in-hospital medical care when you find yourself in a life-and-death emergency.
A medical aid plan, on the other hand, also caters for day-to-day medical costs, such as visiting your local doctor during flu season or going for an annual dentist check-up. Medical aid is usually more expensive than a hospital plan because it caters for more than just an emergency.
Important facts about hospital plans
- If you are involved in an accident and you land up in the trauma unit of a hospital, this does not automatically activate your hospital plan. To do this, you first need to be admitted to the hospital.
- Just like medical aid plans, hospital plans are required to cover you for prescribed minimum benefits. This includes the medication for 26 common chronic conditions, such as asthma and hypertension.
- If you are rarely sick, then a hospital plan is the right choice for you. Medical aid plans are more expensive because they cover day-to-day medical bills. If you rarely wrack up these bills or they are quite low, then you should consider a hospital plan instead.
- Depending on the unique hospital plan you choose, you will have access to private hospitals and your plan will cover the full cost of your hospital stay, including both your treatment and medication.
- Note that certain medical specialists, such as anaesthetists, may charge around three times the amount that your hospital plan is prepared to cover. For example, your hospital plan may cover 100% of a certain cost, but a specialist may charge up to 300% for their services. The additional 200% will have to come out of your pocket.
- To prevent the additional payment mentioned in the above point, you should consider taking out gap cover. For a comparatively small fee, this will ensure that the further 200% is also taken care of.
- Certain procedures that help inform the early diagnosis of larger medical problems are often included in hospital plans. For example, doing a mammogram could assist in the early diagnosis of breast cancer. Hospital plans will, therefore, cover the cost of a mammogram.
Who should get a hospital plan?
If you are young and you do not have to consider the medical needs of any dependents, then a hospital plan may be the right choice for you. It will cost you less than a medical aid plan and it will ensure that you are taken care of if you are admitted to a hospital.
If you are a student and you are no longer of an age where you can be included on your parents’ medical aid plan, it may be best to take out a hospital plan. As a student, you are likely to have a tight budget and a medical aid plan might be expensive. However, a hospital plan will make sure you are covered during emergencies without bankrupting you in the meantime.
Similarly, if you are just starting your career and you are earning a small salary, it might make more sense to get a hospital plan rather than a medical aid plan. But note that it is incredibly important to have medical cover in place. It is challenging to afford this, but it will be even more challenging to settle large medical bills in the event of an emergency.
If you are ready to find out more about hospital plans, fill in the above form and a financial adviser will get in touch with you to answer all of your remaining questions.