For expecting parents, the two primary concerns to consider when choosing a medical aid scheme are the in-hospital benefits it provides and its reimbursement rate – in other words, how much of your medical expenses the scheme will actually cover.
One popular option among expecting parents is the Maxima range from FedHealth. The range offers unlimited hospitalisation for pregnant women, making it unlikely that you’ll be left to cover any shortfall in medical expenses. The scheme also covers health profiling in each of the three trimesters, monthly call-outs for “high-risk” members and a 24-hour medical advice line. Out-of-hospital pregnancy costs, such as the costs of scans, blood tests and gynaecologist visits, are covered through day-to-day benefits.
FedHealth also offers an optional service called FedHealth Baby, which is free for all registered members. The service provides new parents with access to useful information, as well as various giveaways and discounts.
Many other medical aid providers provide similar plans, so compare FedHealth’s Maxima range with other providers before making a choice. Other plans that cater to new moms that you may want to look into include Medshield’s MediPlus plan and Oxygen’s Standard plan.
Which medical aid provider you choose aside, there are some things to keep in mind for all new moms. The most important part of a medical aid for a pregnant woman is hospital coverage, as either type of birth (whether natural or Caesarean) will require hospitalisation. Women who are likely to undergo a Caesarean are in greater need of comprehensive hospital coverage, as the procedure requires the service of up to four specialists.
For those who wish to prepare for any unforeseen complications during birth, whether for the mother or the baby, a hospitalisation plan along with a savings affords the client a source of funds that they can dip into should the need arise.
If you’re planning a family, it’s always a better idea to sign up for medical aid before you become pregnant rather than after. When you first join a medical scheme, there will be a period during which you’re not eligible for any cover for pre-existing conditions – including pregnancy. So if you’re already pregnant when you join, you may end up having to cover all your pregnancy-related medical costs yourself.
Most medical schemes cover medical expenses for a newborn baby for up to 30 days at no additional charge. However, you’ll need to notify your medical aid provider before this period ends to ensure that the baby is included in your scheme.