Tech savvy millennials driving change in the medical aid industry

In almost every industry, we’re seeing the rise of the empowered consumer and the medical aid industry is no exception.

“We’re seeing the rise of passionate consumers who want a more personalised experience. Young millennials, in particular, like to call the shots and are all looking for much greater flexibility, choice and control when it comes to selecting the right medical aid option to suit their personal needs,” says Jeremy Yatt, Principle Officer of Fedhealth.

“Affordability is also a big issue for young and healthy millennials who often can’t afford the more expensive comprehensive plans. They then default to  selecting a basic hospital plan which may satisfy their budget but does not quite satisfy their needs. They generally find most options are simply outdated.”

It makes sense that at different life stages people have different requirements and need to plan accordingly. Yatt says young people can often fly by the seat of their pants as long as they have hospital cover and some day-to-day benefits. “Most basic plans do not, however, offer any day-to-day support.”

Thanks to access to information available on the Internet, today’s young consumers are more empowered than ever before. When it comes to selecting a suitable medical aid option, many conduct extensive online research and seek out peer-to-peer recommendations before narrowing their choice down to two or three options.

Fedhealth provides the following 5 guidelines to young and healthy consumers:


  1. Look at your family history. How healthy are you and are there any genetic diseases that you may inherit later on in life? Conditions such as diabetes, asthma or epilepsy may require regular check-ups, medication or even hospitalisation, so you should see if your medical aid plan would cover any related costs. Even if your family does not suffer from any chronic conditions , a full medical history is always useful to know. Also check for personalised benefits that young people may need like trauma treatment, unlimited accident and emergency treatment and female contraception for example.


  1. What can you afford? Draw up a budget and list absolutely everything in it like your monthly cellphone spend, that yoga membership, your grocery bills. Work out what you can afford each month for medical aid, and cut down on non-essential costs (like your daily cappuchino) if you need to. If you can only afford a hospital plan, then choose the most comprehensive one you can afford, bearing in mind you’ll need to save a little each month to pay for things like medicines, or seeing the doctor when you’re sick.


  1. Do you need day-to-day cover? While you may be bursting with health right now, you may still need some day-to-day cover. Many medical aid plans come with the option of a medical savings account (MSA) attached, where you can access a portion of money per year for these day-to-day expenses. Others, like Fedhealth’s new MediVault offering, allow you to “borrow” a certain amount of money from the medical aid to cover these expenses, and then pay it back interest-free over 12 months. This acts like a great safety net for those really just wanting the peace of mind of a hospital plan.


  1. Is there any way you can reduce your monthly contribution? If you are young and healthy ideally you want to find a plan that you can personalise with discounts. On the FlexiFED 1 benefit bundle for example you can elect to pay a co-payment for any planned procedure and save yourself 25% on your monthly premium. If you were paying R2000 for a basic plan you now will only have to pay R1 600 for example. Over 12 months this equates to a saving of R4 800,00.


  1. What happens if you need to upgrade? Life is unpredictable. While a hospital option with limited benefits may suit your needs now, what happens if you suddenly have a life changing event and need to upgrade your option? Always check if your preferred option allows you to do this at any time of the year.


“Entering the work force is just the beginning of a new stage in your life where you’ll have to make hundreds of decisions every day about your future. By making the right decisions about your healthcare, you’ll be putting your best foot forward into this exciting new chapter,” concludes Yatt.