In South Africa we have a public health system which provides medical care and hospitals, but if you earn a salary, most people prefer to belong to a medical aid scheme. This is medical insurance which gives you access to private medical care, hospitals etc, but doesn’t have the problems that one hears about from the American HMOs.
One of the biggest medical aids is Discovery, which came out about 15 years ago with some innovative products. I was a member of Discovery until last month. However, I have been finding Discovery less and less helpful in providing its basic services – payment for medical care – and more and more focused on other non-medical-related products like insurance and its Vitality products.
The crunch for me was when my eldest daughter, who is a full-time student studying engineering, turned 21 and Discovery raised my monthly insurance premium by 30 percent because I now had another ‘adult’ dependent on my benefit scheme. Like many other countries, the cost of medical care in South Africa has been exceeding inflation for a number of years, and because of this increase I was only able to afford hospitalisation and some very basic medical cover for my family through Discovery.
At the end of 2008 I was fortunate to find out about a company, Care Line, who provide medical aid advisory services. They gave me some alternative options, including the Maxima scheme from FedHealth. For less than I paid Discovery every month I was able to get hospitalisation cover and much broader medical cover from FedHealth Maxima.
I became a member of FedHealth in February and received my first payment for medical costs – a podiatrist visit – today. Thanks FedHealth. I wish I had been a member earlier.