If you’re one of the many who finds that they’ve used up most of their medical aid day-to-day benefits and savings a few months into the year, then this is for you. Try these tips to get more value for your money and make your medical aid last longer.
1. Find a GP on your medical aid’s network. Using network doctors is an invaluable tool to make your medical aid last longer. It means that doctors can’t charge you more than a specific amount. At present, Bonitas Medical Fund has the largest network of GPs in South Africa – with over 4 500 doctors.
2. Use designated service providers. Designated service providers are companies with which your medical aid has contracted to ensure that you get more value for money. This can include optometrists (such as PPN used by BankMed, GEMS and CAMAF) and pharmacies (such as Dis-Chem and Clicks used by Discovery).
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3. Grab the freebies. Several medical aids offer free wellness screening checks or flu vaccines, once a year. However, make sure these benefits are linked to your medical aid itself and not a loyalty programme for which you pay a separate fee.
4. Look out for benefits that are paid from risk. If your medical aid makes mention of benefits that are paid from risk, this refers to benefits you have access to without using your savings or hospital benefits. For example, Bonitas pays for maternity consultations and dentistry from risk on several of their plans.
5. Register your chronic conditions. By law, all medical aids must cover the list of 27 common chronic conditions known as Prescribed Minimum Benefits. These include conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and hypothyroidism. Check with your medical aid to find out how to register.
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6. Make use of managed care programmes. Medical aids offer managed care programmes for conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. These programmes are facilitated by service providers that help members use their benefits to get maximum value in treating and managing a specific condition.