Cut Through Hospital Insurance Fine Print
October 31, 2014
South Africa’s Consumer Protection Act and National Credit Act oblige financial services companies to provide consumers with documentation about hospital insurance that is easy to understand by everyone.
The truth is that this does not happen. Hospital insurance documents are so complicated that even attorneys and doctors find them hard to understand.
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Because the terms and conditions of hospital insurance products are so convoluted, it is difficult to compare one product with another in a marketplace where there are so many options.
An institute called the Plain Language Institute has emerged to help produce documents that comply with the requirements of the Consumer Protection Act.
Hospital Insurance Contracts Much Too Long
The institute has discovered that hospital insurance contracts are too long and not user-friendly at all. As a result a lot of people buy hospital cover products without understanding what they are buying. Often the products are not suited to their purposes.
It is only when claiming that holder of hospital insurance find out what they have bought. Then it’s too late. The insured party then regrets not having read through the extensive documentation and fine print relating to the insurance product.
Too Much Trust
Consumers are too trusting when it comes to hospital cover.
Find out the following from the documentation associated with your hospital insurance:
- When does the plan kick in? (Typically a day after hospitalisation?
- How much will you be paid out per day?
- Do you have to be hospitalised at a particular hospital for the hospital cover to apply?
- Must the cash you are paid out be spent on hospital costs or can you use it for anything?
- Is anything else other than the hospital bill covered in the deal? Other expenses might include specialists, doctors, high care, consumables, medication, etc.
- If doctors’ visits, for instance, are included, must you to a certain doctor or the doctor of your choice?
These questions alone should convince you that signing up for hospital insurance is fraught with pitfalls.
It is much better to get a hospital plan from a registered medical scheme than from an insurance company. Then at least you know you have the Medical Schemes Act on your side. In terms of the Act, your medical aid must pay Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs) even if you only have a hospital plan with them.
Start your journey to a secure and healthy future by getting a hospital insurance quote now.
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All info was correct at time of publishing