Why medical aid should be important to millennials
By Portia Mahlalela
Millennials may question the need to have medical cover, as they consider themselves to be fairly healthy, active and may not have existing chronic medical conditions.
At some stage of our lives whether young or old there may be a need for unforeseen and sometimes costly medical treatment. Not having adequate medical cover would mean paying for all these medical costs from your pocket. When these medical eventualities may happen is not known, and the cost of these could be substantial. This makes it important to consider some form of medical cover, even it is only a basic hospital cover with no day-to-day benefits.
With a wide range of medical schemes to choose from, millennials in particular turn to digital and online sources to research scheme information. They want a personalised experience, and are looking for choices and flexibility as well as affordability.
Factoring in medical cover as one of your monthly budget items will save you from covering unanticipated medical expenses, which could have long term negative impact on your finances. It will also give you peace of mind that you are covered in the event of unexpected illness.
Medical scheme options range from hospital cover to comprehensive medical cover. There are important considerations to be taken into account when choosing medical cover, which include the type of cover that best suits your finances and which medical services you want to be covered for. These services could include medicine, doctor consultations, cover for chronic medical conditions, hospital cover, optometry or dental expenses and other unexpected medical emergencies.
Another key aspect to manage is the transition from being a dependant on a parent’s medical aid to having your own, it is important to understand that a long gap in cover before medical aid is taken up may attract underwriting. Underwriting simply means you may have a waiting period after joining and you will not be able to access certain benefits for three or twelve months from the date of joining.
In recent years there has been more focus on healthy living and adopting a healthy lifestyle, which most medical schemes support by providing programmes linked to this lifestyle. These programmes, whilst not part of the actual medical scheme, but linked, might also offer some separate benefits to the individual in terms of travel discounts, gym fees, etc. Choosing a medical scheme may be confusing and daunting especially when you have never had some form of medical cover or relied on your parents to make the choice for you in the past. It would be beneficial to seek advice from a healthcare broker on the plan that will suit your medical and financial needs.
Illness or medical emergencies are not planned, they occur whether you are young or old and may leave a big dent in your finances. It is therefore essential to consider a medical plan that will suit your life stage and pocket.
Portia Mahlalela is a Regional Executive at Alexander Forbes Health