Why cancelling your medical aid could cost you more

The brunt of the economic down-turn has been felt world-wide and have impacted the household expenses of most families. Often, the first remedy to lessen the burden of increased costs is to reduce or cancel non-essential, luxury items from the household budget. But how do you define non-essential, luxury items? Policies are often the first to go because they require monthly payments and provide no immediate return. The same consideration might be given to medical aid, in particular if you are fit as a fiddle and have not visited a doctor in quite some time. Decisions like these, even though they may save you money in the short term, can be very costly in the longer term.

A medical emergency happens to anyone at any time. It does not depend on your age or family history. A motor vehicle accident happens within a split second and may easily result in severe medical injuries, the costs of which can run into thousands of rand for treatment in a private hospital. So, unless you have a crystal ball, it could be very unwise to cancel medical aid just to save a few extra Rand per month.

But what should you do then if the premium of your medical aid is simply becoming too much for you to afford every month? Members should discuss their position with their medical aid before deciding to cancel membership. Depending on circumstances, an option change may even be considered as alternative. Selfmed offers five different options, ranging from a hospital plan to very comprehensive, traditional medical aid options, that accordingly differ in price as well.

But the price you pay is linked to the benefits you receive. By downgrading to a cheaper option, certain benefits will be reduced as well. But if you are young and healthy and only require the peace of mind that an unforeseen medical emergency will be covered in hospital, a hospital plan such as the Selfmed MEDXXI option should be sufficient.

The MEDXXI hospital option offers no annual hospital limit and it covers services rendered during a hospital stay at 100% of MSR rates, for only R1450 for the principal member per month.
A common trend amongst medical aid members is to cancel their membership to save a few extra Rand and then apply again for medical aid once their financial position has improved. Marthie warns against this behaviour. “Members often forget that when they re-apply for membership, the medical scheme will impose waiting periods. This means that even though they will be contributing from day one, benefits will only be provided after the waiting period(s) has expired. In some instances, depending on the time lapse between cancelling and joining medical aids, even emergency cover will be excluded.”

When having to cut on your monthly expenses to save money, consider the risks associated with cancelling medical aid membership and discuss alternatives with your scheme before deciding to cancel. Selfmed offers a Service Excellence Centre where service is focused around members and their needs. So, your solution to affording medical cover might just be a phone call away!