Get the best medical aid quotes - Here's how
You can go about obtaining medical aid quotes by manually requesting them directly from leading providers, making use of a broker or consultant, or by using a comparison site.
We’re going to take a closer look at these three methods to help you decide which one is best but before we do that, we’re going to give you some general information and advice to help you along. We’re also going to delve into what you should be looking at when comparing schemes.
Why do I need medical aid?
With high crime rates, low road safety statistics, and poor overall health, South Africans face a lot of risks to their health and wellbeing. To mitigate these risks and ensure that you have access to the best lifesaving treatment and quality day-to-day medical care, you should have a medical aid or hospital plan in place.
Understanding Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs)
The Medical Schemes Act 131 of 1998 provides that all insurers must allow for the provision of all the prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs) in all of their medical aid schemes. This is relevant because it means that whether you take out the lowest level of cover (which carries the lowest premium) or the most comprehensive (which carries the highest premium), your insurer must cover you for all PMBs.
PMBs were primarily legislated to ensure that cover does not run out for members whose annual benefits have run out and to make sure that service providers, including state hospitals are paid for services rendered in respect of a member’s PMBs.
PMBs also help ensure a standard level of medical care for all South Africans that do not discriminate based on age or state of health.
PMBs must cover all life-threatening emergency medical conditions, any of the 270 conditions listed in the diagnostic treatment pairs, and all 26 chronic conditions defined in the chronic disease list. Among the 26 chronic conditions, you’ll find Asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, epilepsy, and cardiac failure.
You can find the complete list of all PMBs and more information about PMBs in general on the Council for Medical Schemes website (https://www.medicalschemes.co.za/)
3 methods to get the best medical aid quotes online
1. Using a comparison website
Sites such as ours allow you to quickly and easily compare a range of the country’s leading medical aid providers online. Other comparison sites such as hippo.co.za will allow you to compare quotes from a selection of insurers. All you need to do is provide some basic information and you’ll be presented with a range of options that meet your specific needs.
When using a comparison site it’s important to keep in mind that they may not include or list all the available options and it’s up to you to make sure that you’re happy with which medical aids they’ve included and which they haven’t.
If you find that most of the best medical aids are included but one or two are missing, you can use the comparison site for the listed schemes and compare the other one or two manually. This will still get rid of a lot of the leg work and help you access all the available options.
2. Make use of a medical aid consultant or broker
Medical aid consultants specialize in helping people compare and apply for health insurance. They offer advice on which medical aid scheme will best suit your needs and help you compare quotes, choose the best option, and apply for cover. They can also advise you on whether or not you should take out or adjust your current life and gap cover.
Worried that a broker will skip plans based on which provider offers them the highest compensation for leads?
Most brokers and consultants are contracted to all of the country’s leading providers and can offer you highly detailed and easy-to-use tables, statistics, graphs, and tools to make it easy for you to select the most appropriate cover for you and your family.
This means that you can also use the broker’s knowledge and resources to make sure they’re maintaining complete professional integrity.
3. Manually compare schemes
By making use of a list of the most popular medical aid schemes in South Africa, you can compare schemes online manually (see our list below). While this may involve quite a bit of time and effort it will certainly be worth it. Most medical aid providers offer quick and easy fee or quote services via their websites which will give you a rundown of the available plans, the level of cover, and a fairly accurate cost estimate.
South Africa’s leading medical aids
- Health Squared
- Oxygen Medical Scheme
What to look at when comparing medical aid quotes
While the monthly premium is what most people will be primarily concerned with, while the PMBs ensure all plans offer a decent level of minimum cover, it’s important that you take other factors into careful consideration too.
For instance, will the more affordable plan offer you and your family sufficient cover? Will GP and specialist consultations be covered? What about dental cover and optometry services? Do you need pregnancy benefits and are these available?
Another important thing to keep in mind is that when using price as a deciding factor you have to ensure that you’ll be receiving the same level of cover. Check the inclusions and co-payments.
Packages and products to suit your needs
While all insurers have their own set of medical aid plans, many have created plans that are designed to meet the needs of a particular stage of life. You can find offers that specifically match your needs based on whether you are a single young professional, a young couple, a small or large family, or even a single parent.
These packages often offer suitable cover for the various stages of life and can help make it easier for you to choose a plan.