Arranging South African medical aid cover is one of the most important aspects for any immigrant to consider when immigrating to South Africa.
Why have Medical Aid?
In a constantly changing market it is essential to have comprehensive medical cover because private healthcare in South Africa is very costly. Medical aid is the common method of providing you with protection against these costs and access to medical professionals.
Is Medical Aid the same as medical insurance?
Most people make the mistake of assuming that medical aid is “medical insurance”. Yes, it is a form of insurance, but it differs in the following important ways:
Firstly, medical aid societies are ‘non profit’ organizations. Unlike typical commercial businesses, they are not structured to make a profit from the business they conduct. However, to protect members’ interests, medical aid schemes are required to retain 25% of their gross income as a hedge against future claims.
Secondly, the industry is governed by a Government-appointed Regulator to ensure that trading practices are in the best interests of the members.
Thirdly, schemes are governed by Trustees and not by Board members or shareholders. These Trustees are appointed by the members, who are the de facto ‘owners’ of the scheme. The members appoint the Trustees to oversee the administration and management of the scheme in compliance with all legal and financial requirements. In addition, the Trustees ensure that the benefits offered and the contributions payable are in the best interests of members.
A group of people regularly put their money into a central ‘pool’ or ‘kitty’ and they can access this to cover medical expenses in times of need. Another way to see the ‘kitty’ is to consider it as pooled resources to cover the costs of your healthcare needs.