Changing Medical Aid Schemes

Change medical aid schemesDifferent variables affect what you need from a medical aid scheme, and these change over time. For example, your medical needs are likely to alter when you start a family, as you age and if the state of your health changes. For this reason, it’s good to review your existing medical aid cover periodically, and to investigate how it compares with other medical aid options.

However, don’t rush into a decision. Too often people are blinded by cheaper and don’t take enough time to investigate fully before changing medical aid schemes.

Factors to consider

Before moving from one medical aid to another, determine whether there’s a good reason for doing so. Evaluate your situation and then decide whether it’s the right time to switch. If so, you should consider a number of factors before signing up with a new medical aid provider.

Cancelling your existing medical aid

Note that it’s illegal to have separate schemes with two different medical aid providers at the same time. So you need to cancel your existing medical aid membership before starting a new one. Typically you need to do this in writing. It’s a good idea to give your current provider a call to find out what rules and regulations apply to cancelling your scheme membership.

It’s important to ensure that your membership in a new scheme will start as soon as your previous cover is cancelled. Don’t tempt fate by leaving yourself without any cover for a month – instead ensure everything is in place before going ahead with the change.

Waiting periods and pre-existing conditions

Your new medical aid provider may impose a waiting period before you’ll qualify for cover for any chronic or pre-existing illnesses. Chronic conditions on the Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs) list are not  always exempt from a waiting period. Regardless of what you may have, it is a good idea to confirm waiting periods with your Broker before moving.

Note that it’s best not to change your medical scheme if you’ve recently fallen pregnant or require an expensive operation in the near future. The new medical aid provider may impose waiting periods and exclusions where applicable. Speak to us about t for accurate advice!

Questions to ask a medical aid provider

Before switching to a new medical aid scheme, do some research so you can answer these questions:

  • Does the scheme offer the medical cover and benefits I require?
  • What waiting periods and exclusions apply?
  • Does the medical aid provider have a sound reputation?
  • Is there any chance the medical aid provider could go out of business in the near future?
  • What is the provider’s customer service like (based on your initial experiences as well as information you gather on the Internet or by word of mouth)?
  • Even if the new scheme is cheaper, is it really better than the one I currently have?

Once you’ve done your research, the administrative process involved in switching medical aid schemes can begin.

To simplify the process of finding the best possible medical aid cover to meet your needs, contact us for medical aid comparisons, detailed information about different South African medical aid options and obligation-free quotes. If you’re considering a change to your medical aid scheme, IFC can help you make an informed decision and hastle-free transition.