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Alternatives to medical aid for pensioners

Alternatives to medical aid for pensioners

Old age is a gift that not everyone receives. But amidst the joys of spending your golden years on earth with your family, friends and great-grandchildren, growing old comes with a whole smorgasbord of illnesses, conditions and pain. Medical aid can be expensive, so are there alternatives to medical aid for pensioners?

The problem is, even though older people need more medical attention way more frequently, many medical aid companies don’t want to take the risk of newly insuring someone of an advanced age. The truth is that the older you are, the less likely the company that is covering you will earn its money back from your policy or cover. This is why many medical aid schemes have a cut off age for new memberships.
This is usually around 65 years old, although each scheme has its own preference.

If you are already a member before reaching the cut off age, you have nothing to worry about. As long as you pay your premiums on time, your cover will continue. But what alternatives are there for people who have missed the cut-off age and now find themselves in need of medical attention? Particularly without financial backing.

Medical insurance

Medical insurance companies like Affinity Health now offer plans specially designed for senior citizens. Affinity Senior is a cover that starts at as little as R899 a month, and it covers both day-to-day medical requirements, as well as hospitalisation and chronic medication for certain conditions.

Contact the Affinity call centre on 0861 11 00 33 for more details.

Government assistance

Chronic diseases can have a profound impact on the health and quality of life of older people, not to mention the financial burden that is often associated with long-term illness. In South Africa, treatment at government facilities are virtually free. Although do know that you will have to deal with waiting in long lines. Also, sometimes having surgeries booked well in advance.  But government care is a viable option for many pensioners who cannot afford private care.

If you need assistance, visit a doctor and ask for a letter to be admitted to a government facility. Otherwise, visit the free clinic in your municipality.

Healthy Diet and lifestyle

According to Vital Record, the National Council on Ageing says that about 92 percent of seniors have at least one chronic disease. Around 77 percent have at least two. Heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes are among the most common and costly chronic health conditions. They cause two-thirds of all deaths each year. The National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends meeting with a physician for an annual check-up, maintaining a healthy diet and keeping an exercise routine to help manage or prevent chronic diseases. Obesity is a growing problem among older adults and engaging in these lifestyle behaviours can help reduce obesity and associated chronic conditions.

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