It’s the start of the year and no doubt your medical aid savings account is looking healthy. But in just a few months’ time, you might be reaching into your pocket to pay medical bills after these funds run dry.
Senior specialist at Alexander Forbes Health, Ann Streak, has some advice for medical aid members looking to preserve their medical aid savings account.
“At the start of each year your medical aid allocates a certain amount of money to your medical aid savings account. Depending on what medical aid you are on, or what plan you have, the savings account may be used to pay for day-to-day benefits like doctor’s visits. Here are some tips to protect that money:
- Use service providers that have contracted with your medical scheme (network doctors / pathologists / pharmacist / dentist / opticians etc) as the scheme may have negotiated discounts at these providers;
- Visit your GP rather than going straight to a medical specialists;
- If you suffer from a PMB condition, understand what benefits are provided as part of a PMB condition and utilise the service of the designated service provider to ensure that your claims are paid from risk rather than from your medical savings account;
- Utilise acute medication that forms part of your scheme’s medicine list / formulary to avoid co-payments;
- Minimise the use of casualty services as these are more expensive than GP consultations;
- If your scheme offers the facility to give your providers access to your electronic health record, then use doctors that have this facility to minimise the cost of duplicate services. These doctors are also in a position to ensure that your treatment is clinically appropriate and effective relative to other treatments you may be undergoing, thus minimising complications;
- Capitalise on the preventative screening benefits that schemes offer to ensure that out of hospital expenditure is minimised through early detection;
- Remember that any unused medical savings balances accumulate year on year and is not forfeited at the start of each year.”