Getting medical attention in South Africa always puts a dent on one’s pockets. Money is tight for everyone, whether you have a medical scheme, a hospital plan, or nothing. Everyone’s cutting corners and cutting down on things that are thought not to be essential. Here’s how to get the necessary treatment without breaking the bank as a young person.
1. Deal Now With Medical Issues
Ignoring a medical problem, because you don’t want to pay the GP, often means that you end up paying for three consultations. Any condition can go from mild to serious because of negligence.
2. Avoid After-Hours Consultations
Obviously, if there’s a crisis, you’ll have no choice. But going to the GP at the 24-hour clinic on a Sunday morning, because you have a sore throat, is going to cost you a lot more than it would on Monday morning.
3. Look After Yourself
Prevention is always better than cure. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables, exercise, have safe sex, sleep enough,to prevent yourself from being infected by opportunistic viruses and bacteria. The healthier you are, the lower your medical costs will be.
4. Get Access To Medical Information
In a non-emergency situation, a reliable website, or a good medical reference book may answer some of your questions without your having to incur the cost of going to the GP.
5. Check Out Your Local Supermarket
Many OTC medications are available at supermarkets. Stuff like headache tablets, vitamin pills and antacids are generally much cheaper at the supermarket than they are in the chemist, as the supermarket buys these things in bulk.
6. Check Out The Government Hospitals
If you have no medical aid, consider going to a state hospital, but check them out first. Some of them are very good, although hardly luxurious. But then, when you need to have your appendix out, who cares about posh carpets and elevator music?
7. Get Your Facts Straight
Unless there’s a medical emergency, don’t be shy to ask exactly what your hospital plan or medical scheme will cover before you’re admitted to a private hospital. This isn’t the time to be modest.
8. Use Your Benefits
If you have an over-the-counter facility on your medical scheme, use it. The R100 you save on vitamins by not paying for them out of your own pocket could be spent on petrol in those last three desperate days before payday.
9. Stick With The Company Medical Scheme
This is often cheaper than going for an open-market medical scheme, where you as an individual may have little bargaining power. Also, closed schemes often charge you according to your income, but everyone gets the same benefits.
10. Stick Together
If you have two children and a spouse, it will be cheaper to all be on the same medical scheme than if you or your spouse join different schemes as principal members.