Mind the gap, for your physical and financial health

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Our health is our most important concern, but in South Africa the cost of healthcare is prohibitive. 

One of the reasons is the critical shortage of medical professionals per capita with government figures revealing the shocking statistic of only 0.31 doctors per 1 000 patients.

Add the high cost of medication, and cash-strapped South Africans are tempted to cancel medical aid gap cover, considered a grudge expense. Understanding why this is one of the expenses you cannot afford to remove from your monthly budget is key. 

We asked Tony Singleton, CEO at Turnberry Management Risk Solutions to shed some light on all things gap cover:

What is gap cover?

Gap cover, or medical expense shortfall cover, is a policy that mainly covers in-hospital events and pays for the shortfall between what medical specialists charge and what medical aid schemes are willing to pay. 

It is not uncommon for medical specialists to charge up to 500% or 600% of medical aid rates, meaning the patient must cover the shortfall.

So, cancelling gap cover is risky as illness and accidents cannot be predicted.

Budget for gap cover

Gap cover should be an essential component of any financial portfolio to protect people against potentially crippling medical expense shortfalls. Often, it is the unforeseen that results in the most significant shortfalls, and gap cover can be key to a patient’s physical and financial well-being. This means, too, that you do not have to dip into your savings or retirement funds.

What is the answer?

Enlist the help of a financial broker to review the options available.  

There are several medical aid and health insurance schemes to choose from ranging from hospital plans to comprehensive medical aids. A financial broker can help you find the right scheme for you. 

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