Choosing the right medical aid plan isn't easy.
The year-end is often when most medical aid schemes invite clients to change or re-evaluate their cover.
There are about 81 medical aid schemes in South Africa, 20 of which are open-plan schemes.
With so many options to choose from, it's important to make sure that you make the best decision for you and your family.
Only 18% of South Africans are members of medical aid schemes, according to the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), which regulates the medical schemes industry in the country.
The council's head of benefits, Paresh Prema, says membership numbers have remained stagnant in South Africa.
This is partly because the cost of medical aid is one of the most significant expenses for many households.
It's been more difficult for membership numbers to grow based on employment rates and people being able to afford medical aid schemes.— Paresh Prema, General manager - Benefits Management Unit at Council for Medical Schemes
But going without medical aid cover poses a big risk to families, Prema says.
He explains that medical aids help protect consumers against unforeseen healthcare costs such as terminal diseases or car crashes.
When choosing the right plan, Prema says clients must assess how much they can afford as well as their day-to-day medical needs.
You have to look at your usage and your needs and what you'll be able to afford when choosing an option.— Paresh Prema, General manager - Benefits Management Unit at Council for Medical Schemes
It's the last thing that people would want to stop paying for because of the importance of the cover you get.— Paresh Prema, General manager - Benefits Management Unit at Council for Medical Schemes
You have to have a balance between what you can afford, what you need in terms of medical services and what you can do without.— Paresh Prema, General manager - Benefits Management Unit at Council for Medical Schemes
Listen to the insightful discussion on Lunch with Pippa Hudson:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Rethinking medical aid? Balance what you can afford with your needs, says expert