Getting affordable medical insurance has become an option for many now that TymeBank has launched its own offering in partnership with the National HealthCare Group. Costing as little as R139 per month per person, TymeHealth makes medical insurance accessible, affordable, and inclusive – giving millions more of South Africans access to private medical care.
“If you don’t have any form of medical cover, there are some very good reasons for you to consider medical insurance,” says Cheslyn Jacobs, TymeBank Head of Sales and Service. Here Jacobs unpacks some of the key reasons why it’s wise to have some form of medical insurance in place, for unexpected injuries or illness.
- Day-to-day illnesses and injuries are covered
How many times have you had to visit your GP or dentist in the last year? These visits are expensive and are also subject to annual increases, making them more costly as time goes by. With the right medical insurance product, these costs are covered by your insurer, so you do not have to bear the brunt of annually incurring costs that you have not budgeted for.
- Casualty cover is not the same as hospitalisation
If you are injured in an accident, you may need to be hospitalised, which in itself requires cover. But bear in mind if you are taken into the casualty ward first for emergency treatment this is not covered by your hospital plan and will need to be purchased as a separate benefit, or you will need to foot the bill. TymeBank’s MediClub Elite covers such circumstances.
- A financial back-up when the unexpected happens
As car and household insurances cover you, similarly does medical insurance cover those unexpected events that can set you back financially, potentially meaning you have to dip into your savings or even turn to family or friends to assist. As such, being prepared is wise, so that if an illness or injury occurs, you are covered.
- *It’s more affordable than medical aid yet is more focused on its benefits
Unlike medical aid, medical insurance is not governed by the same medical aid Regulations. The former’s Regulations require that all medical aid products offer a set of minimum benefits known as Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs). This cover includes 270 in-hospital, life-threatening procedures and 26 listed chronic conditions. Medical insurance on the other hand is far more affordable and is primarily focused on out-of-hospital primary-care expenses including general practitioner consultations, prescribed medication, basic dentistry, and some optometry cover, while some health insurance providers like TymeHealth also offer specialist visits and hospitalisation benefits as a result of an accident.
- Our changing lifestyles make us more unhealthy
Illnesses are increasing and today the most common are heart disease, diabetes, TB and hypertension. Covid-19 has also reminded us how fragile our health can be and how quickly we can become ill. It is for this reason that you should have some form of medical insurance in place that covers you for day-to-day needs, specialist visits or offers basic radiology or pathology.
- Medical emergencies can bankrupt you
If you are in a serious accident, such as a car crash, or you fall and injure yourself, you will need to be hospitalised, often for days or weeks. Without having any insurance to fall back on, you will either need to use state hospitals or cover these unforeseen expenses yourself, which could run into the thousands of Rands. With medical insurance, your hospital stay (which could run into weeks), is covered as per the option purchased.
- If you develop a serious condition and don’t have medical insurance, you may not be able to acquire any during the waiting period
Waiting periods apply to all medical insurance products. This is the period during which you pay your premiums but are unable to access the benefit until the waiting period is up, which could be up to 12 months. As such if you take out medical insurance as you learn of a condition you will not immediately be covered. It pays to plan in advance when you are illness-free.
- Your hospital plan doesn’t cover day-to-day needs
Perhaps you have a hospital plan in place already, but it likely does not cover your day-to-day needs such as GP or optometrist visits. It is a good idea to look at the PMBs (prescribed minimum benefits) on your hospital plan to see what is and is not included. Topping your plan up with medical insurance for these day-to-day needs is a financially wise option, especially when it will only cost you a few hundred rands extra a month.
“Illnesses and injuries do happen. It is thus advised to have some form of medical cover in place so you can access private care facilities,” says Jacobs. “It does not need to cost you an arm and a leg, so if you look around and do your homework you will find there are very affordable medical insurance products on the market such as TymeHealth offered by TymeBank and the National HealthCare Group.”
*Medical aid costs over R2,000 per beneficiary a month on average