Medical dilemma

In South Africa, if you want decent medical care, you need to go to doctors and hospitals which fall into the private sector.  That is not to say that we don’t have really good doctors in the state sector – some of them are absolutely brilliant and are so dedicated.  Doctors in the public sector are not paid well.  The problem within the public sector is that the conditions of the hospitals are poor due to lack of government funding and there are not always drugs and equipment available.

For us to be able to afford private medical care we have to take out some type of medical insurance as it is very costly. This is usually taken care of by your employer if you work for any reasonably large company. The company will pay a percentage of your monthly premiums.  For people like me who work in rural areas and for very small companies, it is something that you need to find and take care of on your own.  This is where I find myself right now – trying to decide which type of medical insurance to buy into.  Luckily The Bean is covered by her father’s medical insurance.

Installments are outrageously high so I have been looking into just getting cover for hospitalizations and dreaded diseases. I will take care of the day-to-day costs on my own as these are way lower than any of the premiums I would have to pay.  In principal, I have nothing against medical insurance – it is very important and can really help when one has to have bypass surgery etc. However I do have a problem that these insurance companies are companies for profit.  They have these wonderful skyscraper buildings and report amazing profits on the stock exchange each year.  I think they should be non-profit companies.

Right now, I am avoiding signing up out of principle and that is a bad place to be if anything should go wrong.  Each company that I have approached seems to have exclusions that are ridiculous. “Yes, we’ll take R1000.00 rand of yours a month for hospital cover but we don’t pay for hip replacement or back or spine operations”  Argh!  Those are the things that I won’t be able to afford when I get old!  So I look at a dreaded disease policy which is more of an insurance than a medical cover – they pay out fixed sums when you are in hospital – but then the day you turn 65, even if you have paid for 30 years, you will no longer have cover – for goodness sake – that’s when you are going to need cover (and they don’t give you any of money back that you paid for all those years.)  This is driving me crazy – and these companies are smiling all the way because they know they have you between a rock and a hard place.

I just wish someone would come up with some competition for these companies – I need another solution.

Today I had to go to the doctor and will probably have to have some surgery – and I am feeling forced to hand over my hard-earned cash to one of these sharks so that they can have higher profits for next year. I don’t want to do it. They probably won’t pay for this surgery either as it is a pre-existing condition – another exclusion they all offer!


8 thoughts on “Medical dilemma

  1. My sympathies and my urrrgggghhh! are right there with you. I’ve always thought of insurance companies as legal extortionists. They take your money knowing that if you really need something from them you have to resort to getting an attorney to make them pay out. It’s ridiculous. But like you, I’m afraid of getting caught not having any–just in case.

    Good luck…


  2. This has been a bug-bear of mine for a long time. They can have their logo dosplayed on the TV screen during the FA Cup Final (costs millions in Rands), but cannot give decent cover. ABout 20 years ago, Medical Aids were all non-profit organisations – that’s the way it should be – what went wrong ?
    The government should introduce legislation to limit their profiteering !!!


  3. Unfortunately this story is heard everywhere. I know there are countries with so-called universal coverage, but they have there own issues. Lack of doctors, long waits for services.

    There are no easy solutions…at least not, until there are 😉


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