Is your medical aid costing arm and a leg? – Ginsberg Financial Brokerage

Medical aid increases in 2017 – and what you can do about it

Medical aid is probably one of your biggest monthly expenses after the bond payment, school fees and cars. Part grudge purchase, part safety net, it makes us all sleep better at night knowing that we’ll be taken care of in case of emergency in a nice private hospital and that (most of) our medical bills will be paid.

However, with steep medical aid increases coming our way in 2017 (e.g. Discovery and Momentum), can you continue to afford quality care or will you just have to put up with a 10+ % increase?

What’s up with the double-digit increases?

Don’t blame hospitals and doctors for this above-inflation rise in premiums. It’s attributed to a rise in claims, more people being admitted to hospitals, people using more scheme benefits, abuse, fraud and wastage.

According to Discovery’s chief executive Dr Jonathan Bloomberg, “contributions (to Discovery) would be 27% lower than they currently are if the average members’ use of medical services had not changed over the past 8 years”. If health providers’ tariffs had stayed the same in the same period, contributions would only be 2.8% lower than they are (source: Weekend Argus, 23 July 2016).

So what can I do about this?

It’s safe to say that most South Africans will take a long hard look at their choice of medical aid, what it’s costing them and the value they are getting from it. Perhaps you decide to stay put or maybe it’s time to change providers.

It might be time to think outside the box: make the most of tax credits, adding gap cover or voluntarily limiting your choice of which healthcare providers you use (called an EDO or efficiency discount option).

You don’t need to keep your (medical aid) eggs in one basket

Think about it: why are you with your medical aid provider (other than if it’s the one your employer uses)? Is it the one your parents trusted? Your friends have? The one with the best incentives or prominent marketing? The days of insuring your whole family with one provider are over. Of course a one-stop shop, so to speak, is convenient. Of course it’s easier when it comes to claims. But remember, convenience always comes at a cost.

Talk to an expert financial advisor such as Ginsberg Financial Brokerage to find out what the right combination of products is for your family. We’ll help you determine what you can afford and objectively see where you can save.

It’s time to put a stop to ever-increasing premiums and ever-decreasing benefits. Let’s be smarter about medical cover – your bank balance will thank you. Call 021 434 8065 or drop us a line at ivan@gfb.co.za and let’s book some time for a chat.

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