Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live. – Business philosopher Jim Rohn
We really hope you’re planning some rest-and-recovery time-out over the holiday season, giving yourself headspace and time to think and plan, and to focus on the stuff that really counts.
And what is it that really counts?
Well, each of us will have a slightly different answer. But when the website Health24 last surveyed the nation and asked "what are the things that stress you out most?", it turned out that what stresses South Africans most is money – how much more everything costs, how much less of everything money buys.
So one of the best things you can do with the headspace of the holiday season is to think about money.
We’re not suggesting you spend your break drawing up budgets and poring over spreadsheets, but rather that you do some quiet thinking about how you’re spending your money and how – without compromising your safety nets or your lifestyle – you can make the money you have go further, and buy you more peace of mind.
And that’s where your medical scheme comes in.
It’s well documented that medical scheme contributions have been going up each year by more than the rate of inflation, which means that in real terms your medical scheme gets more expensive every year. There are a number of reasons for this, including legislation, an ageing membership, medical inflation and the cost of new technology. Medical schemes do their best to sweeten the increase for members, but they can’t spare you the pain in your pocket.
There are ways, however, of keeping your medical costs down by making sure that you get the maximum benefit from your medical scheme:
- Do you really know your medical scheme rules?
Do you know what is paid from your actual benefits and what is paid out of your medical savings account? Do you know where and by how much you "topped up" your medical scheme in the past year? Knowledge is power and all the information you need is contained in your medical scheme documentation, says Andrew Edwards, Executive Principal Officer at Liberty Medical Scheme. Once you know what your limits are, decisions about discretionary costs become clearer.
- Do you follow the rules?
Many medical schemes have contracted with medical service providers and facilities and you’ll get the best deal if you use them. Of course, if you’re wedded to the dentist you’ve seen since you were a child, and he’s not contracted in, you’re absolutely in your rights to continue to see him. Just understand that you might be paying a bit more.
Article continues on page two: six more ways of keeping your medical costs down...