Need to cut costs on your medical expenses? Find out how easy it is to save big bucks when you visit the doctor.
Published: Friday, February 3rd 2017
Ask anyone, the one thing we wish we could avoid is getting sick and having to pay for costly medical expenses.South Africa is, unfortunately, one of the countries that does not provide free health care. This means the choices can sometimes be incredibly stark. You're either at the mercy of a government hospital, which can either be incredibly efficient or incredibly disorganised, or you can spring for monthly payments for a private medical scheme or hospital plan.If you are looking after your family and need to find sustainable medical care, read our tips and advice below.
The number one way to avoid a medical expense is to keep yourself healthy. Frequent exercise, a healthy diet, no smoking, sufficient sleep, and good stress-releasing activities can go a long way in preventing an illness. Exercise also doesn't have to be an expense. So, research fun activities for the family to do on the weekends such as hiking, long walks, swimming, or cycling.
2. Register Your Children As Dependants On Your Medical Scheme
A child dependant will pay a significantly reduced premium compared to a principle member (even an adult dependant). Children also have (mostly) low claim rates. Furthermore, some schemes may only charge for the first three children, and the rest will be on the scheme for free.
3. Go For Screening Tests
Take advantage of your free screening tests provided by your medical scheme. This is usually made possible through your annual limit, and not your medical savings account. Screening tests can prove invaluable in detecting high blood glucose, high cholesterol, or even cancer early.The earlier an illness is discovered, the easier and more affordably you will be able to treat it. It is often when people postpone treatment that the real cost starts coming in.
4. Phone Your Scheme Before Any Of You Undergo Treatment
Check what is covered by your current scheme option and how much funds you currently have available. Make sure you are fully aware of what will be covered by your scheme option, and whether you have funds available. You might also need pre-authorisation for certain procedures. Failure to get necessary pre-authorisation could land you with a huge bill.
You may think you need to go to a specialist in a certain area, but your GP might be able to help you at a significantly lower rate.
6. Ask Your Doctor About Generics
Generic medication contains the same active ingredients as brand medication does, but is often almost half the price. Why? Generic medication does not face the same costs as a brand-maker. Since the brand-maker is often the inventor of the product, it means millions has been invested in research and production. This is something generic medication does not encounter.
7. Pharmacy Chains Are Cheaper
The bigger the business, the lower the prices generally are. This is because pharmacy chains will buy in bulk. Their mark-ups are also lower on non-prescription products, such as headache pills and plasters.
8. Make Sure Your Scheme Suits Your Family
It is vital that you choose a medical scheme that you are going to get full use out of. This does not necessarily mean a full medical scheme, often a hospital plan is more than sufficient.A hospital plan will pay for chronic medication for 26 Prescribed Minimum Benefits, such as diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure.
9. Are You On Chronic Medication? Inform Your Insurance Provider
By registering your chronic conditions with your scheme, your chronic medication will be either be paid from your chronic medication limit or your overall annual limit.
10. Use Your Pharmacy’s Nursing Services
Visiting a nurse at a pharmacy can be far less in medical expenses than a consultation at your GP. Nursing facilities provide blood pressure monitoring, vaccinations for your children, and various types of other injections.