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What is the real cost of medical care?

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Over the years, the cost of medical care in South Africa has become excessively high. For the average person, it is almost impossible to afford medical care as medical aid contributions keep getting higher.

In this article, we will touch on the real costs of medical care, affordable alternatives like medical insurance and hospital plans, and how to find the one that best suits your medical needs.

According to the Statista Research Department, as of 2022, 15.8 percent of all individuals in South Africa were members of medical aid schemes, which presents a slight decrease from 16 percent recorded in the previous year. Considering the total population in the period under review, this accounts for around 9.7 million residents having private medical care. This also means about 52 million residents do not have any access to private healthcare.

These stats prove the cost of medical care is too high for the average person to afford. Paying out-of-pocket expenses for a chronic illness or a medical emergency due to a sudden illness or an accident can be overwhelming. Fortunately, with some planning, you can be able to get private healthcare despite the cost of medical treatment.


How to get private healthcare despite high medical care costs?

Taking care of your health requires more than just eating right and exercising. You will need to have access to medical treatment to ensure you are healthy and if you are not, get medical help. You can have this access when you take up Medical Insurance, medical aid or hospital plan.


Medical insurance

Medical Insurance is an affordable alternative to traditional medical aid if price is a major factor for you. A doctor’s consultation can roughly cost R350 or even higher without adding the costs of medicine whether it is chronic or scripted medicine. Medical Insurance covers your day-to-day medical expenses. Some insurance companies charge premiums of less than R500 per month where you can access doctors, optometrists, and dentists as part of your cover.


Hospital plan

You can find affordable hospital plans in South Africa and get access to emergency medical care. Hospital plans usually cover unforeseen emergencies, accidents, or illnesses which may require hospitalisation. In case of an emergency, getting medical care without a hospital plan can set you back. If you have to be hospitalised, consider that a hospital can charge R2000 per day. Fortunately, with a hospital plan, you can still afford to be treated at private hospitals without worrying about medical expenses. It is also a cheaper alternative to medical aid.


Choosing the right medical care option

The truth is, it is essential to have medical cover because it brings security and saves you from drowning financially.

When selecting the right medical care plan, compare your health needs against your financial capacity. Once you have done that, you can be able to decide which alternative suits your needs the best.

Medical Insurance comes with many options and for some companies, you can get even more benefits by adding different buy-up options to your already existing cover including accident cover and more.

The best hospital plan includes cover for emergencies, in-hospital stays and selected procedures. It is a good choice for those who want to stay ahead of life’s surprises and is flexible for those who cannot afford medical aid.



If you cannot afford medical aid costs, then look into alternative options that will work for you. While the real cost of medical care may be high, it is better to be covered (even if partially) because if you are not, you may have to deal with excessively high medical expenses that may be devastating to your mental and financial well-being.

Not all Medical Insurance plans are the same and benefits as well as limitations may vary. Descriptions of benefits given are meant to be for general educational purposes only and you must ensure that you seek the advice of a broker to ensure any product choice you make suits your individual needs.


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