Here’s how you can stretch your medical savings account to last the year

– Tanya Motlafe (Director, Cornerstone Healthcare Consulting Services)

With the year officially halfway gone, many of us are starting to doubt whether our remaining medical aid savings funds will make it until the end of the year. If you are worried that having to pay a specialists or general practitioner (GP) out of your pocket will rake havoc on your monthly budget, read on to find out how you can avoid it.

At Cornerstone Healthcare Consulting Services, we do all the hard work for you and help you to avoid nasty loopholes and pitfalls, like running out of medical savings early in the year. By following our useful tips below, you’ll be able to stretch your medical aid savings and possibly reduce the financial stress of out-of-pocket payments on you and your family.

Visit the pharmacy instead of the GP

For things like a flu injections, HIV tests, certain vaccinations and over the counter medicine, you don’t need to see the doctor. Most of these services are freely available at retail pharmacy clinics. By getting these medicines and services from a pharmacy, you’ll end up saving a lot by avoiding the doctor’s consultation fees.

Make use of network service providers

This is a great way to save money on your medical savings account, because mostly, healthcare professionals within your medical aid’s network will charge medical aid rates which are often lower than private rates. Even if your option plan does not limit you to network providers, you can still save by using them. Your medical aid will most likely have a list of all its network providers available online to help you locate a healthcare professional closest to you and your family.

Check if you have an above threshold benefit (ATB) on your medial ad plan

Some medical aid plans will have an above threshold benefit (ATB). This means that once your medical savings have been depleted, you will have to pay certain medical expenses from your own pocket up to a certain amount to reach the ATB.  Once you have reached the ATB, your medical aid will step in and pay for certain items or services again. Having an option plan with an ATB can be a valuable safety net to ensure that you have additional funds to last the year. ATB’s can be difficult to understand, and many people might interpret them incorrectly. To avoid any confusion and to see how you can save, get in touch with Cornerstone Healthcare Consulting Services today.

Opt for generic medication where possible

Pharmacists are obligated to offer you generic versions of all medications that are prescribed to you. Although generic medicines are copies of brand name medicines, they go through the exact same quality tests and contain the same active ingredient. In almost all cases, there is no difference between generic and brand name medicines. Opting for generic versions will save you a lot of money on your medical savings account allowing you to get more bang for your buck.

Get the appropriate level of care

Avoid visiting specialist healthcare service providers for non-specialist needs. For example, don’t go directly to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT) for a simple sinus infection that could have been treated by a GP at a fraction of the cost.

Remember, specialists are healthcare professionals who specialise with a certain or specific medical condition and they can be very expensive and tend to charge outside of scheme rates. This means that over and above the large chunk that will be taken from your medical savings account, you might even be liable for an additional co-payment. Always make sure that you seek the correct level of care for your needs. GPs can still refer you to a specialist if necessary to ensure that you get the right treatment.

Making the most of your medical aid benefits, including your savings account, is a vital part of financial well-being and a qualified healthcare broker can help you along the way. Contact us today to find out more and remember to connect with Cornerstone Healthcare Consulting Services on Facebook and LinkedIn for more interesting content, tips and advice.

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