Medical aid schemes are designed to cater to a range of individual and family health needs. With so many options available, comparing these schemes can seem daunting. However, breaking down the process by understanding key features can simplify your decision-making. In this article, we’ll delve into the top features you should consider when you compare medical aid schemes, ensuring that you make a choice that best suits your needs.


The heart of any medical aid scheme is its coverage. This pertains to the range of medical services, treatments, and procedures that the scheme will fund. Some plans offer basic hospital coverage, while others encompass a broader range of out-of-hospital benefits, including consultations, medications, and even dental care. Ensure you understand the scope of the coverage. Does it cover hospitalization, maternity care, surgeries, or rehabilitative services? Prioritize based on your health concerns and anticipated needs.


The monthly cost of your medical aid scheme is, naturally, a critical consideration. Premiums can vary dramatically between providers and the level of coverage. When comparing premiums, balance affordability with the breadth and quality of the coverage offered. The cheapest scheme isn’t always the best value if it doesn’t provide the services you need.

Network Hospitals:

Some medical aid schemes have partnerships with specific hospitals, forming a network. Being treated within this network can either be a requirement or can provide a cost advantage. Investigate which hospitals are within your scheme’s network. Are they conveniently located? Do they have a good reputation? Also, consider potential future needs; if you’re planning on having a family, for instance, does the network include reputable maternity units?

Chronic Disease Benefits:

For those with chronic conditions, the benefits related to ongoing treatment can be pivotal. Many schemes have designated lists of chronic conditions that they cover more extensively, offering benefits like specialized medications or regular check-ups. It’s essential to ensure your condition is covered and understand the extent of the coverage, including any caps or limits.

Waiting Periods:

Waiting periods are intervals during which you pay premiums but are not covered for specific treatments or conditions. These periods can differ significantly between schemes. It’s crucial to be aware of these periods, especially if you anticipate needing medical care soon after joining.

Co-payments and Deductibles:

Some medical aid schemes require members to contribute a portion of the cost of a treatment or procedure. This is often either a flat fee (co-payment) or a percentage of the cost (deductible). While these can reduce monthly premiums, they can also lead to unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. Understand these costs upfront to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Additional Benefits and Bonuses:

Some schemes offer extra perks, like gym memberships, health and wellness consultations, or even travel benefits. While these shouldn’t be primary decision factors, they can add value to a scheme and tip the balance if you’re deciding between two similarly priced options.

Customer Service and Support:

Lastly, while not a tangible ‘benefit’ in the same sense as the others, the quality of a medical aid provider’s customer service can significantly impact your experience. When you have health concerns, the last thing you want is unresponsive or unhelpful support. Look for reviews or seek recommendations about this aspect of the provider.

In conclusion, when comparing medical aid schemes, it’s not just about price. A comprehensive evaluation requires understanding your health needs, financial capacity, and preferences. By considering the features listed above, you can make a more informed choice and ensure that when the need arises, you and your family have the best possible medical support.