What exactly is covered by a Standard Bank hospital plan in South Africa? A hospital plan typically offers cover for medical treatment when an individual is admitted to the hospital, regardless of their insurance status. Treatment may include major surgery, hospitalization, physiotherapy, consultation, dental care, hospital outpatient surgery, emergency medical services, and pathology.
There are a variety of different hospital plans available, depending on the insurer. Some hospital plans include private hospital admissions, private maternity services, and rehabilitation, dialysis, pathology, cardiology and orthopaedics. Private hospital admissions can be either inter-provider or independent. Independent hospital admissions are covered for the duration of the policy, while inter-provider hospital admissions are applicable only during the period that an individual remains in the same hospital as the insurer. Rehabilitation services are covered for up to six months following hospital discharge.
Most hospitals in South Africa are government-supported, though there are private facilities that cater to uninsured persons as well. Government hospital plans tend to be more costly than private hospital plans, as they tend to offer fewer services. However, many healthcare providers such as the Catholic Church Healthcare Services Corporation provide extended hospital care to people who would not otherwise have access to it. Some private hospitals and private healthcare companies offer hospital plans in South Africa, but there are no standardized rules regarding these companies’ offerings.
The most common hospital plan offered in South Africa is the hospital prepaid medical aid plan. This is a comprehensive medical aid plan that covers the cost of hospitalised treatment. All healthcare expenses covered under this hospital plan are subject to the prescribed minimum benefit standard. The prescribed minimum benefit standard refers to the level of expenditure that is required to treat a pre-existing condition. Treatment of non-pre-existing conditions is not covered under this hospital plan.
One of the major advantages of hospitalisation is that it provides a degree of comfort and control over one’s daily expenses. Unlike personal medical schemes, hospitalisation offers an immediate and reliable solution to most medical problems. One can anticipate a predictable level of expenditure upon admission to a hospital for the treatment of pre-existing or acute medical conditions.
Generally, South Africa has some of the best healthcare facilities available. Most hospitals offer comprehensive day-to-day facilities such as diagnostic care, diagnostic imaging services, surgical services, emergency healthcare services, maternity care, physiotherapy, home healthcare service, occupational healthcare, psychotherapy, radiology services and consultation services. The hospitals offer state-of-the-art equipment and other technologically advanced amenities. One can also rely on the expertise of renowned surgeons and renowned healthcare professionals. Most importantly, South Africa has a well developed private medical system that caters to the medical requirements of its residents.