Anyone who has been hospitalised knows that daily costs tick up at the rate of a taxi meter. Fortunately the bulk of these costs can be controlled by having a medical aid. The operative word is “bulk” because while a medical aid may take care of many of the bills, we are often left with other associated costs that take a chunk out of our wallets.
There are a number of costs that emerge during hospitalisation that we only become aware of when we are sitting in the hospital bed eating overcooked vegetables and dry chicken.
So let’s take a step back and look at an average scenario. You are driving home on a stormy night and a tow truck breaking the land speed record cuts in front of you. You brake but ABS is no match for a sodden road, you slide off the tarmac into a tree. Sporting a broken leg and concussion you wake up in hospital with your family wringing their hands at your bedside. The relief of being alive (not that you would know any better if you were dead) is soon tempered by the realisation that this is going to cost money. Sure you have a medical aid, but you are self-employed, you have no disability cover and you have three kids to feed.
One of the things they don’t tell you about medical aids is that there are set fees that they are prepared to pay for certain procedures and services , so if you get charged more than these set rates, you will have to pay for the deficit.
Then there is the cost of your family coming to visit every day, which could add up to an extra tank of petrol each week and at current prices that’s not small change. Then what about when you get home? Just try making yourself a sandwich and coffee when both of your hands are stuck to crutches. Even if you manage to do it by balancing on one leg how are you going to carry the coffee back to the table? You will need help, so your partner or a friend that owes you, will have to babysit for a while. If you have used up all of your favour vouchers then you may have to pay for extra help. You may also have to pay someone to help run your business or even drive you around, and then there is your normal stream of monthly bills to take care of. It’s not a pretty picture.
A Hospital cash back plan can take of these issues. These insurance policies can cover you for out of pocket expenses that are not covered by your medical aid. While it’s not a medical aid or a hospital plan, you can get up to R5000 per day for every day you have been in hospital. This is as long as you’ve been admitted for 3 consecutive nights, under the care of a registered specialist. You can claim from your 1st full night up to and including your 90th consecutive night”.
The good news is that you are free to spend this money how you wish so the funds are not just earmarked for medicals bills. The premiums are very reasonable and won’t change for the first 12 months, regardless of whether you claim or not. Even if you have a full medical aid this kind of policy will ensure that your budget does not get sideswiped by unplanned expenses. While a Hospital Cash Back Plan can help when you are hospitalised, it is essential that you have your other risk products in place, a cash back plan will not be much use to your family if you die without life cover. Just read the rules carefully and be fully aware of the exclusions.