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The difference between medical aid and medical insurance.

In the modern age, health care and hospital costs have become increasingly expensive. The high cost of healthcare means it is vital to have some type of medical cover set up to help when needed. The main two choices you have in this area are medical insurance and medical aid. Although people often confuse the two or think they are the same, they are totally different.

The key to understanding the two types of cover is knowing what each one involves.

This article is here to explain the differences as simple as possible.

What is medical insurance?

Medical insurance usually pays a set amount out for every day you spend in hospital or a maximum set amount for each incident. This is a fixed amount that does not pay attention to the type of medical treatment you may need. Medical insurance would pay out in the same way your car insurance would pay out if your car got stolen. With medical insurance you are covered for a certain amount and everything more than that you will need to pay for. Medical insurance has much more affordable premiums, meaning that anyone can benefit from it.

Medical insurance covers you for day-to-day medical expenses such as GP visits etc. In most cases though, this cover will be limited, and you may have to bear most of these costs personally. Medical insurance will cover some in hospital procedures up to a certain amount, but rarely provides cover if you need to be admitted in hospital due to illness, although some of the options does allow admissions for illnesses.

What is medical aid?

Medical aid offers something completely different altogether. Medical aid gives in-hospital protection and pays out for any treatment needed in conjunction with the specified medical tariff scheme. Any payments are normally made directly to the service provider and/or hospital involved. This is preferable for someone who does not want the hassle of sorting out payments themselves with providers.

Medical aids also cover daily medical costs like GP appointments or buying medication. Medical aid does offer more in this area though and can offer more comprehensive daily cover, depending on the type of cover you have. In some cases, certain providers may still require you to pay for daily expenses and then claim back from your medical aid.

The best way to make the choice between a medical aid and medical insurance is to think carefully about your medical needs. Those who are healthy and do not expect to pay for daily medical expenses will usually find medical insurance to be enough. If you are older or more prone to ongoing health issues which could prove expensive in daily life, medical aid will be a better bet.

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