Taking charge of your health this Men’s Health Month: Why having a medical aid is a necessity

June is Men’s Health Month, an annual observance that aims to raise awareness about the unique health challenges that men face and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Men’s health issues can be complex and often require timely medical intervention for effective treatment and management. This is why having a medical aid for men is a necessity.

Medical aid for men can provide access to affordable healthcare services, regular check-ups, screenings, and preventive care. These services can help detect and manage health conditions early, leading to better health outcomes. Prostate health, heart disease, mental health, and sexual health are some of the most common men’s health issues that require medical attention.

Medical aids offer financial protection and peace of mind, especially in the face of unexpected health emergencies, accidents, or hospitalisations. Comprehensive cover and support provided by medical aids can include hospitalisation costs, specialist consultations, prescription medications, and other healthcare services. Having medical aid can help alleviate the financial burden of healthcare costs.

Medical aids can also contribute to the overall well-being and quality of life of men by promoting preventive care, encouraging healthy lifestyle choices, and offering wellness programs or incentives. Regular health screenings, vaccinations, and lifestyle modifications can aid in early detection and prevention of health issues, promoting better health and longevity.

Men’s Health Month is an excellent opportunity to highlight the importance of accessible and affordable healthcare. It is a crucial aspect of taking charge of their health during this month and beyond.

How can you find the right medical aid? is an online platform that provides comprehensive and up-to-date information about medical aids in South Africa. It is a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to compare medical aids, get expert advice, and find the best medical aid for their needs.

Here are some reasons why you should use

  1. Comprehensive information: provides detailed information about medical aids in South Africa, including their benefits, costs, and exclusions. This information is updated regularly, ensuring that you have the most accurate and up-to-date information when making decisions about your healthcare.
  2. Expert advice: The team at consists of experienced and knowledgeable healthcare professionals who can provide expert advice and answer any questions you may have about medical aids. They can help you understand the complexities of medical aid policies and guide you through choosing the best option for your needs.
  3. Easy to use: The website is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it simple to find the information you need. You can search for medical aids by name, browse by category, or use the website’s comparison tool to compare multiple medical aids side-by-side.
  4. Save time and money: Using can save you time and money by helping you find the best medical aid for your needs at the best price. You can compare multiple medical aids in one place, eliminating the need to visit multiple websites or contact multiple providers.
  5. Trustworthy: is a trusted source of information about medical aids in South Africa. The website is independent and impartial, ensuring that you receive unbiased information and advice. The team at is committed to helping you make informed decisions about your healthcare and ensuring that you get the best possible value for your money.

In conclusion

Men’s health issues require timely medical intervention for effective treatment and management. Having a medical aid for men can provide access to affordable healthcare services, regular check-ups, screenings, and preventive care, contributing to better health outcomes. Medical aids offer financial protection, peace of mind, and support for unexpected health emergencies, enabling men to focus on their health and recovery. They also promote preventive care, encourage healthy lifestyle choices, and serve as a proactive approach towards men’s health, empowering men to prioritise their well-being and take charge of their health. This Men’s Health Month, consider having medical aid as a proactive measure to safeguard your health and future and use for all of your medical aid comparison needs.

Anti-Tobacco Campaign Month and Why You Should Have Medical Aid

May is recognised as Anti-Tobacco Campaign Month. It is a time when individuals and organisations come together to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and promote healthy habits. This year, it is more important than ever to participate in these efforts and take steps to protect your health. One of the best ways to do this is by having medical aid. Here’s why.

Why Anti-Tobacco Campaign Month Matters

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths worldwide. It is estimated that tobacco use causes around 7 million deaths every year, with many more people suffering from smoking-related illnesses. These can include lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, and more. In addition, smoking can harm those around you, including family members and co-workers who are exposed to second-hand smoke.

Timely access to care:

The purpose of Anti-Tobacco Campaign Month is about encouraging people to quit smoking, avoid second-hand smoke, and live a healthy lifestyle. By participating in these efforts, you can help reduce the number of people affected by smoking-related illnesses and improve public health.

Why You Should Have Medical Aid

One of the best ways to protect your health is by having medical aid. Medical aid is a type of health insurance that covers the cost of medical treatments and services. It can help you access the care you need, when you need it, without worrying about the financial burden. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider having medical aid:

Finding a medical aid that suits you is an online platform that provides information on medical aids available in the country. The platform aims to simplify the process of choosing the right medical aid plan by providing easy-to-understand information on the different options available. The website offers a user-friendly interface where users can compare different medical aid plans based on their budget, healthcare needs, and preferences. You can filter the plans by monthly premiums, benefits, and the available network of healthcare providers.

Access to preventative care:

Preventative care is essential for maintaining good health and preventing illnesses or treating illnesses before they become serious. With medical aid, you can access preventative services like check-ups, screenings, and immunisations at little or no cost to you. This can help you catch health issues early and take steps to prevent them from getting worse.

Financial protection:

Medical treatments and services can be expensive, especially for serious illnesses or injuries. Medical aid can provide financial protection by covering the cost of these services. This can help you avoid the burden of high medical bills and focus on your recovery.

When you need medical treatment, you don’t want to wait. Medical aid can help you access the care you need quickly, without having to worry about long wait times or delays. This can be especially important in emergencies when every second counts.

Comprehensive coverage:

Medical aid can provide comprehensive coverage for a wide range of medical treatments and services. This can include hospital stays, surgeries, medications, diagnostic tests, and more. With medical aid, you can have peace of mind knowing that you have coverage for the care you need.

Do you want to find a medical aid perfect for you? is a website that provides information about medical aid schemes in South Africa. The website offers a comprehensive directory of medical aid providers, as well as simple tools and resources to help users choose the right medical aid scheme for their needs.

The website offers a user-friendly interface that allows users to easily search for medical aid providers based on their location, budget, and other criteria. Users can also compare different medical aid schemes and their benefits, helping them to make informed decisions about their healthcare. offers a range of resources to help users understand the complex world of medical aid in South Africa. These include articles, guides, and FAQs that cover topics such as how medical aid works, how to choose a medical aid provider, and what to do if your medical aid claim is rejected.

In addition to its directory and resources, also offers a range of tools to help users manage their medical aid. These include a medical aid calculator, which can help users estimate the cost of different medical aid schemes, and a claims tracker, which allows users to track the status of their medical aid claims online. Follow the link to find the best medical aid for you

In conclusion

Anti-Tobacco Campaign Month is an important time to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and promote healthy habits. One of the best ways to protect your health is by having medical aid. With medical aid, you can access preventative care, financial protection, timely access to care, and comprehensive coverage to ensure that you and your loved ones are protected.

Celebrating World Health Month: Protecting Your Health and Finances with a medical aid

April is World Health Month, and it’s an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of health and wellness. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial, having access to quality healthcare is equally important. In this blog, we will discuss why having medical aid is important and how it can benefit you and your family’s health.

World Health Month

World Health Month is an annual event that takes place every year in April. The purpose of World Health Month is to raise awareness about global health issues and encourage people to take action to improve their own health and the health of their families and communities. Throughout the month, various organisations and communities around the world participate in activities and events that promote healthy living and highlight the importance of preventive health measures. This may include health fairs, educational seminars, fitness challenges, and fundraisers for health-related charities.

World Health Month is an opportunity for individuals and communities to come together and take action to improve health outcomes around the world. It is a reminder that good health is not just the absence of disease, but a state of physical, mental, and social well-being that requires attention, care, and effort.

What is medical aid and why is it important?

Medical aid provides cover for medical expenses. It offers financial protection against the high cost of medical treatment, which can often be a financial burden. Medical aid can cover a range of medical expenses, including doctor’s consultations, hospitalisation, chronic medication, and emergency medical care.

Having medical aid can help ensure that you and your family receive the necessary medical care when you need it most. It provides peace of mind, knowing that you have access to quality healthcare without having to worry about the financial implications. Medical aid can also help prevent medical debt, which can have a significant impact on your financial wellbeing.

Medical aid plans vary in terms of the benefits they offer, so it’s essential to choose a plan that suits your specific needs and budget. Some plans offer comprehensive cover for all medical expenses, while others provide cover for specific medical conditions. Regardless of the plan you choose, having medical aid can help you manage your healthcare expenses and ensure that you receive the best possible medical care.

Besides protecting your health, protecting your finances with medical aid is an important aspect of ensuring that you and your loved ones have access to quality healthcare without breaking the bank. Medical aid covers you in the event of hospitalisation, as well as covers most consultations, tests, and medication.

Finding a medical aid that suits you is an online platform that provides information on medical aids available in the country. The platform aims to simplify the process of choosing the right medical aid plan by providing easy-to-understand information on the different options available. The website offers a user-friendly interface where users can compare different medical aid plans based on their budget, healthcare needs, and preferences. You can filter the plans by monthly premiums, benefits, and the available network of healthcare providers. provides comparison quotes of various medical aid providers in South Africa, such as Discovery Health, Momentum, and Bonitas, to offer users a wide range of options to choose from. One of the key features of is its personalised recommendation tool that helps users find the most suitable medical aid plan based on their individual needs. Visit to find the perfect medical aid for you:  

In conclusion

Having medical aid is important as it provides financial protection against the high cost of medical treatment. It can help you and your family receive the necessary medical care without having to worry about the financial implications. So, if you don’t have medical aid, consider investing in a plan that suits your individual needs and budget to ensure that you and your family’s health is protected.

Tuberculosis (TB) Awareness Month: Understanding the Importance of Early Detection and Treatment

Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, killing around 1.5 million people each year. In recognition of the ongoing global health threat posed by TB, World TB Day is observed on March 24th each year, while the entire month of March is designated as TB Awareness Month.

TB Awareness Month
The purpose of TB Awareness Month is to raise awareness of the disease and its impact on global health, as well as to promote early detection and treatment. It is a preventable and curable disease, but early diagnosis and treatment are essential to minimise the spread of the disease and prevent serious complications and death.

Understanding TB
There are two main forms of TB, namely latent TB infection (LTBI) and active TB disease. LTBI occurs when a person is infected with the TB bacterium, but the immune system is able to keep the bacteria under control and prevent it from causing disease. Active TB disease occurs when the TB bacterium begins to multiply and causes symptoms, such as persistent cough, fever, night sweats, weight loss, and fatigue. If left untreated, active TB disease can lead to serious complications and death. In order to diagnose TB, a healthcare provider will typically perform a thorough physical examination, take a detailed medical history, and order tests such as a chest X-ray, sputum culture, or a skin test known as the TB skin test. If TB is diagnosed, treatment typically involves a combination of antibiotics taken over several months, which
must be taken as directed in order to be effective. One of the challenges in preventing and controlling the spread of TB is that many people with the disease do not know they are infected. In many cases, the symptoms of TB are mild and may be mistaken for those of a common
cold or flu. This is why early detection and treatment are so important in controlling the spread of TB. Another challenge in the fight against TB is that the bacterium that causes the disease is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a form of TB that is resistant to at least two of the most powerful antibiotics used to treat the disease.

How can we control the spread of TB?
In order to control the spread of TB and minimise the impact of the disease on global health, it is important for everyone to be aware of the symptoms of TB and to seek medical attention if they suspect they may have the disease. People who are at higher risk of TB, such as those with weakened immune systems, people who live in areas with high rates of TB, and people who have close contact with someone with active TB disease, should be particularly vigilant and seek medical attention if they experience any symptoms of TB. In addition to seeking medical attention if you suspect you have TB, there are other steps you can take to prevent the spread of the disease. For example, practicing good hygiene can help to reduce the risk of infection. If you are diagnosed with TB, it is also important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for treatment and to avoid spreading the disease to others by staying home from work or school until your healthcare provider tells you it is safe to return.

Having medical aid is especially important for individuals with tuberculosis (TB) or those who might be at risk of getting it. Medical aid can provide access to the medical services and resources needed for the effective management of TB, including diagnostic tests, medication, and hospitalisation if necessary. Additionally, medical aid can also help to cover the cost of TB treatment, which can be expensive, especially for individuals with multidrug-resistant TB. Having medical aid can alleviate the financial burden of TB treatment and ensure that individuals have access to the care they need to manage their health effectively. If you would like to find a medical aid that suits your needs and wants, visit is South Africa’s best medical aid scheme comparison website.

In conclusion
TB Awareness Month serves as a crucial opportunity to raise awareness about tuberculosis and its impact on global health. During this month, it is important for everyone to educate themselves about the symptoms of TB and to seek medical attention if they suspect they may have the disease. The ongoing efforts to raise awareness and improve early detection and treatment of TB will help to reduce the impact of this disease on global health and ensure a brighter future for all.

The Importance of having a medical aid before and during pregnancy: Protecting yourself and your baby

The week of February 13 through 16 is designated as Pregnancy Awareness Week. Reducing the number of pregnancy-related deaths or complications, for the mother and child, is the main goal of Pregnancy Awareness Week. The day accomplishes this by enhancing prenatal education and emphasising crucial concerns that support a healthy pregnancy and safe parenthood. One key point is highlighting the fact that having a medical aid during pregnancy is important for protecting both the mother and the baby. Let’s find out more.

Having medical aid during pregnancy

Medical care during pregnancy can help ensure that any potential health issues are identified and treated early, which can help prevent complications and ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth. Medical care during pregnancy includes regular pre-natal check-ups, which can help detect any potential issues such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. Prenatal check-ups also provide an opportunity for the mother to receive vaccinations and for the baby’s growth and development to be monitored.

Additionally, medical aid also provides benefits for maternal and new-born care after delivery, which can cover expenses such as hospitalisation, medical tests, and the cost of delivery. This can help reduce the financial burden that pregnancy and birth can place on a family.

When should you purchase a medical aid product if you’re planning for pregnancy?

You should join a medical aid at least 12 months before falling pregnant because pregnancy is categorised as a pre-existing condition. You are insured if you were a member of a medical aid for 12 months before becoming pregnant, otherwise, scans, OBGYN visits, and childbirth-related expenses are not entirely covered. Unfortunately, many new mothers who didn’t purchase a medical aid product quickly enough either didn’t anticipate becoming pregnant so quickly or were unaware of the exclusion.

According to the Medical Schemes Act, medical aid programs may impose general waiting periods of three months and/or condition-specific waiting periods of 12 months for any pre-existing medical conditions. The Act specifically allows for the introduction of waiting periods to safeguard the current medical scheme from “selective abuse”. Selective abuse is characterised by a desire to purchase a medical aid product only after learning that you require medical assistance for a particular condition, such as a disease or, in this case, pregnancy.

The bottom line

Overall, having a medical aid during pregnancy is essential in ensuring a healthy pregnancy and birth for both the mother and the baby. If you are planning on growing your family, you should use to find the perfect medical aid product for you. is the country’s best medical aid scheme comparison tool to help you find the medical aid scheme that suits your needs, wants, and budget.

What’s the deal with the COVID 19 vaccine and my medical aid?

The vaccine has been a hot topic throughout the world and has been the source of much contention in South Africa. South Africans have questions about the state of the vaccine currently, how it will roll out and what the process is to register for it.

Where are we at with the vaccine in South Africa?

The government aims to vaccinate 41 million people. With the COVID 19 vaccines being rolled out currently, South Africans have learned that just because they are medical aid members does not mean they will be given priority in the queue all the while the line between the public and private healthcare systems is being blurred. This is leaving many South Africans wondering.

Ron Welan, Chief Commercial officer at Discovery Health, says medical schemes will be working alongside the government to ensure a smooth rollout of the vaccine. He states that:

“This is a national effort. It’s not the private sector on one side, and the public sector on the other side. We’re all as South Africans going to be in the same queue in terms of vaccinations. And there’s a simple reason for that because we need to drive towards population level immunity. None of us are safe until we’re all safe.”

He further stated:

“There’s no real differentiation between public and private, no real differentiation between medical aid and non-medical aid, in so far as the prioritisation and access of vaccinations. There are obviously differences in terms of the funding, but the actual prioritisation and access is the same.”

How will the vaccine roll out?

According to the Department of Health the COVID 19 vaccine Rollout Strategy will be implemented in three phases. Frontline healthcare workers will be given priority then other essential workers and high-risk groups will be vaccinated followed by the rest of the population.

Welan added:

“We think [the rollout plan] is a very logical decision. Our elderly population are most at risk of COVID 19. If you’re over the age of 70, you’ve got a 50-60% chance of being admitted to hospital, and we certainly see the higher mortality rates in those age groups. So, there is a very clear, clinical criteria and rationale for vaccinating the elderly first.”

Listen to the full interview here.

How do I register for the vaccine?

Less than a quarter of the population have registered for the vaccine as of April 16th. The Department of Health has therefore made it even easier to register. While the vaccinations are not open to the general public yet the registration process remains the same. Individuals can register for the vaccine via the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) self-registration portal which can be accessed here.

The South African Department of Health urges South Africans to be patient stating:

  • Vaccination is voluntary.
  • Everyone who has registered for the vaccine will be offered the vaccination.
  • When it is your turn the date, time and place of your vaccination will be received via SMS.

As quoted from the South African Department of Health you need the following:

  1. Access to the internet on any device (cellphone, laptop, tablet, desktop etc.).
  2. Your ID number or Passport (non-RSA) and general contact information (your cell phone number will be used as the primary mode of communication).
  3. Information about your employment (primary employer and location of work)
  4. Where relevant, your professional registration details, and medical aid are also requested.
  5. With all information at hand registration should take approximately 2-3 minutes.

Will my medical aid cover my COVID 19 vaccination?

The answer to this burning question is yes. South Africa’s Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has declared the COVID 19 vaccine will be added to the Prescribed Minimum Benefits of South African medical schemes providing much needed relief to medical aid members. The CMS also provided a reminder that just because your medical aid covers the vaccine does not mean they will cover a COVID 19 test potentially leaving you with out of pocket expenses.

Some medical aid providers have pledged to provide a vaccination to every non-medical aid member for every member who is vaccinated. This has raised concerns among medical aid members as they worry about the costs involved in an initiative of this nature.

Will I, as the member, end up swallowing those costs?

There is no way to know but South Africans are advised to make sure they are getting the best deal possible and to compare what’s available, and then decide based on their circumstances.

What are my other options?

You may want to change your provider or ask your existing provider for a better deal.

To compare medical aid benefits and prices visit and make sure you are on the best possible plan to meet your needs during this time.

Why COVID 19 has made it even more important to get your flu shot

Influenza (the flu) is caused by the H1N1 virus which spread worldwide during 1918 and 1919. It was first identified in military personnel in 1919. While the flu was being studied, and there were no vaccines or antibiotics to treat secondary infections, control efforts were made worldwide. These non-pharmaceutical interventions included quarantine, isolation, the use of disinfectants, good personal hygiene and the restriction of public gatherings. While we have taken massive strides towards dealing with the flu it is still important to get your flu shot.

“Cape Town epidemiologists predict that there will be a third wave of COVID-19 which will co-inside with winter this year”, premier Alan Winde stated. As we know, winter already brings with it the flu season. This makes it especially important to get vaccinated for the flu. Maytham, Professor of Infectious Diseases at UCT, notes that to avoid a “double whammy” there needs to be a robust flu vaccination and prevention plan but there are questions:

Can I tell the difference between flu and COVID-19?

It is difficult because “the typical symptoms associated with COVID-19 are similar to those with the flu” – Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Discovery Health’s head of the center for clinical excellence.

The best tell is to see whether you have travelled to an infected area or if you have been in close contact with a person displaying COVID-19 symptoms or someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The symptoms of COVID-19 should not be ignored and include:

  • A fever
  • Tiredness
  • A dry cough
  • Aches and pains
  • Running nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Difficulty breathing

If you suspect you may have COVID-19, please call the COVID-19 National Crisis Helpline on 0800 029 999.

Must I still get the flu vaccine if I have had a COVID-19 vaccine?

An absolute resounding yes! The COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine cannot replace each other. It is still important to get a flu vaccine because:

  • People forget the flu can also be a serious illness. In recent years, annual flu epidemics have resulted in an estimated 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 290 000 to 650 000 deaths globally.
  • Flu weakens the immune system and makes a person more susceptible to getting COVID-19. So, it’s best to avoid it altogether.

Dr Nematswerani says that “by protecting yourself against one contagious infection – the flu- you should be able to able to reduce your level of risk somewhat against the other” referencing to COVID-19.

There are more reasons to get the flu vaccine this year. The less people with flu, the more health care professionals there are available to deal with COVID-19 patients. Also, you protect others from getting the flu when you get vaccinated.

Is it safe to get the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?

Dr Lungi Nyathi, AfroCentric Group’s managing executive: clinical risk and advisory of and owner of medical aid administrator Medscheme, advises that “South Africans in high-risk groups should take steps to ensure they receive both the flu vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available to the public.”

Must I still get vaccinated if I had the flu vaccine last year?

Yes. While you may have had the flu vaccine before it is important to get it this year too. You need to get the flu vaccine yearly because the flu virus mutates. As the virus changes strengths and strains so do vaccines to stay up to date.

If I get the flu vaccine, will it give me the flu?

No. The virus in the vaccine is inactive. It does not infect, but rather promotes the development of antibodies in the body. It is, however,  possible to still contract the flu even if you have had a flu shot.

Which flu symptoms are considered an emergency?

The flu can cause the need for medical intervention. Certain signs mean you should seek care right away:

In children:

  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions
  • A fever or cough that improves but returns or worsens
  • A fever above 40 degrees Celsius
  • Dehydration
  • Severe muscle pain (children might refuse to walk)
  • Blushed lips
  • Chest pain
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing

In adults:

  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions
  • A fever or cough that improves but returns or worsens
  • Persistent pressure or pain in the chest
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Persistent dizziness
  • Severe muscle pain

When can I get a flu vaccination?

Flu vaccines are generally available to the public from March or April each year. The best time to get the vaccine is as soon as it becomes available. This is not a final deadline. If you have the flu vaccine at any time during winter it will still be effective.

Some of the places to get the flu vaccine in South Africa include Clicks, Dis-chem and Shoprite.

Will my medical aid cover my flu shot?

Most medical aids will pay for a flu shot under ‘Screening and Prevention’ benefits especially in persons who are at-risk, but it is advisable to check your cover and benefits.

While the flu might not seem so bad you are still at risk. The flu vaccine remains the best available way of protecting yourself from the flu virus this winter. Find out if your medical aid covers your annual flu shot and remember to get them before the cutoff date!

How to survive Medical Aid premium increases

How to survive Medical Aid premium increases for 2021 and end up saving money

The cost of living has skyrocketed this year and most families are having to tighten their belts in order to make ends meet each month. Individuals are therefore under pressure to eliminate expenses that are not delivering real value to their lives. Gone are the days where South Africans are prepared to pay for services or benefits they are not using or do not need.

Medical Aids are famous for lumping benefits together and charging fixed premiums to their members. Each year, exorbitant increases are announced, and consumers are expected to absorb these additional costs into their budgets even though in most cases, premium increase percentages are higher than average salary increases.

In previous years, medical schemes have passed annual increases in the range of inflation plus 3-5%, which would have meant total increases of 6-8%. However, for 2021, increases have been in the 4-6% range (with several schemes passing increases as low as 4%). One medical aid (Discovery Health)  has come in with a 0% increase, which might fool consumers initially into thinking that would be the best option, but it seems the scheme has plans to pass an increase in June 2021.

Consumers must not be fooled by the percentage increases announced by medical schemes but should rather take a deeper look at price versus benefit and what the total impact will be to their pockets over the full year, in other words the true cost, including what is NOT covered in their medical plan.

Even though these 2021 price increases are the lowest increases the industry has seen for some time, the consumer remains concerned and is looking for ways to save on this onerous monthly expense. The conundrum is that given current uncertainties with COVID-19, having a medical aid and access to private healthcare, has become increasingly important but also increasingly burdensome given that medical aid premiums in some cases are costing families of four or more the equivalent of a home loan repayment and is now one of their biggest monthly expenses.

Medical scheme members feel hard done by and disenchanted with their medical schemes because in addition to the incredibly high premiums they pay monthly, they still find themselves forking out money for day-to-day medical expenses, over the counter medication, co-payments and short-payments.

What should consumers do if they can’t afford their medical aid premium increase for 2021?

First – do not cancel your medical aid unless it’s your absolute last resort! In the short-term you might save on monthly premiums, however if you are not covered, an unexpected illness or accident can ruin you financially, or you may be forced to compromise on the care you receive as you can no longer afford the best.

According to a recent study conducted by the American Journal of Public Health, more than half of all bankruptcies (58%) can be tied back to medical expenses and an estimated 530,000 families in America file for bankruptcy each year because of medical bills and health issues. While exact or similar stats are not available in South Africa, one can imagine that those having to fund medical procedures privately themselves could end up in a similar situation. There is no doubt that having the right medical aid in place and additional insurance like Gap Cover can save you and your family from financial disaster.

Second – know and understand your current plan inside and out. It is important that you understand exactly what you are covered for, what benefits you receive and at what rates. It is possible that you are ‘over-insured’ on your current plan. Even though it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health cover, you could be better off financially and you could be saving money by changing to a different plan instead of paying a high premium for cover you do not need. For example, if you are not planning to have children then why be on a plan with top maternity benefits?

Third – review past medical costs. It is important that you keep track of your medical expenses. That way you can review the extras you are spending money on outside of your medical scheme and try to find a plan that better matches your needs. Also, you might see that you are spending so much on out-of-hospital expenses that a simple hospital plan will no longer suffice, and a more comprehensive plan would actually save you money over time, or vice-versa.

Considering changing plans?

When considering a change to your medical aid plan, or a change of schemes, there are a few things to keep in mind. Such as, it is important that your age and current health-risks are assessed before changing plans.

By law, your new medical scheme is allowed to provide three underwriting conditions:

  1. A three-month general waiting period where no claims are covered besides the prescribed minimum benefits and chronic conditions.
  2. A 12-month, condition-specific waiting period if you have been diagnosed with a pre-existing condition, for example cholesterol. The new scheme might not cover any costs related to that condition for a year. This waiting period can only be applied if you have not been a member of a scheme for 24 months or if you do not join a new scheme within three months.
  3. A late joiner penalty, this only applies if you did not previously belong to a medical scheme and are 35 or older.

All of the above considered, unless you are incredibly healthy and the saving is significant, it might be the best option to stay with your current scheme and rather just change plans to better suit your needs.

Finally, find the best plan for you, based on your current health, your age, your day-to-day needs, your risks, and how many dependents you have.

Review your plan in detail along-side the plan you are considering. Check what it covers and what it does not. The better you understand this, the less likely you are to incur additional expenses during the year. For example, your scheme may specify that you need to get authorisation before consulting a specialist and failing to do so can be a costly mistake as your claim will be declined.

Reviewing your medical scheme and plan can be overwhelming and extremely time consuming without help from technology. It is advisable to use online tools like which is South Africa’s best medical scheme comparison website. Here you will be able to find the best medical cover for your healthcare needs and budget. The comparison looks at monthly premium, hospital choice, overall annual limit, cancer cover, reimbursement rate, day-to-day cover, benefits, MRI/CT scans, maternity benefits and chronic cover.

Most schemes allow you to downgrade during the year, but will only allow upgrades in the renewal window (November/December) effective 1 January of the following year.

World Tobacco Day

For most tobacco users, tobacco cravings or urges to smoke can be powerful. But you’re not at the mercy of these cravings.

31 May | World No Tobacco Day

When an urge to use tobacco strikes, remember that although it may be intense, it will probably pass within five to 10 minutes whether or not you smoke a cigarette or chew on some tobacco. Each time you resist a tobacco craving, you are one step closer to stopping tobacco use for good.

Good reasons you should stop

Quitting smoking lowers the risk for cancer, coronary heart disease and improves the functioning of blood vessels, the heart, and lungs. As soon as you stop smoking your body begins to repair itself.

Tobacco contains nicotine and produces chemicals like carbon monoxide that speed up your heart rate and elevate your blood pressure. The same can occur if you vape with nicotine-based e-cigarette fluids. The effect is immediate the moment you inhale.

Within the first 24 hours of quitting cigarettes, your heart rate, blood pressure, circulation will improve and the carbon monoxide levels in your lungs will return to a more normalised state by the end of the first day. And, after one to three months, your lung function could improove by as much as 30%. Over time, your risk of life-threatening health problems, including heart disease and stroke, drops dramatically. 

Here are 10 useful tips to help you quit smoking.

  1. Decide on a date and do it
  2. Throw away reminders of smoking (ashtrays, lighters, old cigarette packs)
  3. Drink lots of water to flush the nicotine from your body
  4. Exercise more – take your dog for a walk
  5. Change your routine – avoid situations that make you smoke for first 2 days
  6. Rally support by telling friends and family that you have quit
  7. Understand that its normal to experience dizziness, headaches and coughing for at least 14 days
  8. Focus on getting through the first 2 days – after that it gets easier as cravings start to reduce
  9. Eat at regular times and snack on healthy foods in-between to avoid weight gain
  10. Don’t give in to the ‘just one cigarette’ excuse when a crisis or stressful situation occurs

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Over time, your risk of cancer, lung disease, and many other serious diseases will be much lower than if you keep smoking

How fast and how well your body recovers can depend on the number of cigarettes you normally smoke and how long you’ve been smoking, and whether you already have a smoking-related disease. The sooner you quit the sooner your body can start to repair itself. Remember, trying something to beat the urge is always better than doing nothing.

Take the 24-hour challenge now – and get one step closer to being totally tobacco-free.

Some medical aids offer assistance to help you quit smoking. To find out if your medical aid has benefits like this, or to find one that does, get in touch with one of our specialist consultants.

You can also make use of our FREE and independent medical aid price comparison tool that compares prices and benefits of all the top medical aids in South Africa, engineered to compare your existing medical aid option with industry alternatives.


Covid-19 and your medical aid

Since the Coronavirus entered the country, we have been told to take precautionary measures like washing your hands and not touching your face but one precaution that has been overlooked is checking your medical aid. With lockdown a reality, now is a good time to check what you are covered for or how you could save money during and beyond the Covid-19 crisis.

The question that has been on South African’s minds lately: “Are medical aids covering COVID-19 related claims?”

The answer to this question is not that clear and often depends on the following:

  • The type of cover you have – members on hospital plans do not have access to day-to-day benefits.
  • If you have any saving left – members that find themselves in a self-payment gap may incur out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  • How sick you get from the virus – in some cases members will show mild flu-like symptoms while in other cases emergency and/or in-hospital treatment may be required.

Quite soon after the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in South Africa, the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) released a statement saying most medical health insurance providers would pay for tests for the novel coronavirus.

As of 18 March 2020, Discovery Health, Momentum Health, Profmed, Fedhealth, and GEMS, have all released statements confirming that their members would be covered for coronavirus testing.

BUT there are some T’s and C’s attached to this commitment:

  1. If your test for Covid-19 comes back negative, then the claim will be paid out of your savings.
  2. If you have no savings account linked to your plan, or you have run out of savings for the year, you will have to pay for the test out of your own pocket. This amount is estimated at just under R1,500 per test, excluding the doctor’s consultation fee.
  3. If your test for Covid-19 comes back positive, you will be covered for the cost of the test, any consultations associated with the diagnosis and supportive treatment and medicines.
  4. In some cases, as with Discovery Health, members will be able to access Discovery Health’s “WHO Global Outbreak Benefit” which is opened up when a declared global outbreak like Covid-19 occurs. At the point of a positive diagnosis, members are covered for out-of-hospital costs for related treatment from the Scheme and not from their day-to-day benefits. Most of South Africa’s larger medical schemes hold reserves specifically for events like Covid-19. The challenge however is, if an outbreak goes on for too long then those reserves could deplete.

In most cases, schemes rules for members whose symptoms to Covid-19 do not result in emergency type treatment, will likely be no different to if they presented with a flu virus.

Covid-19 in itself is not a PMB and mild presentations of this disease do not form part of the conditions covered as a Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB). In other words, you need to be really ill and present with various COVID-19 complications like pneumonia and respiratory failure before treatment will be covered as part of PMBs. In addition, you will need to be hospitalised to have access to any hospital benefits.

Paying for Covid-19 tests and medical treatment is not the only consequence facing South African consumers.

The imposed 21-day lockdown from midnight on Thursday, March 26 until midnight on Thursday, April 16, 2020 will have significant implications for business and individuals. While this measure is intended to slow down the spread of infections and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of South Africans, it will result in additional financial strain for households.

With the complete shutdown of non-essential businesses for 21 days, the question is how many, especially small businesses, will survive – and the real question, how many jobs will be lost, particularly those employed in the travel and tourism and related industries. Should these businesses survive, they will be faced with additional ‘resurrection’ costs when they reopen and may not have sufficient cash reserves to pay their employees beyond a month or two of the lockdown. While there is some talk of loan restructuring from financial institutions, it may not be enough for already over-indebted consumers that have had to dig into their own savings and reserves to fund ‘emergency shopping’ and feeding kids that are now in ‘holiday mode’.

As disposable income starts to diminish, consumers may be looking to cut out some of their bigger monthly expenses in order to fund their households. With medical aid premiums being one of the biggest household expenses, the concern is that consumers may feel the temptation to cancel their medical aids. This is by far the worst time to be without private medical cover. Covid-19 is going to be around for some time still.

For right now, those that are under financial pressure, there are options:

  1. Check your medical aid cover – you may be over insured and could pay less monthly by eliminating cover you don’t need.
  2. Do a price check on your medical aid and compare your premium with other medical aids that could be offering the same cover for less.
  3. Switch from a medical aid to medical insurance. It’s a much better alternative than having no cover at all.
  4. If you are able to, consider adding Gap Cover to your plan. This way if you do end up in hospital, you will be covered for any shortfalls incurred from in-hospital specialist treatment. Just remember there is a 3-month waiting period, so rather act now.

You can do all this at The service is free and supported by a team of expert consultants that can assist you with saving money.