Is there a “no waiting period” medical aid?

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Is there a medical aid with “no waiting period”?

Yes, it is possible for you to have a new and “no-waiting-period” medical aid membership, but it’s completely straightforward.

Waiting periods are complicated, but we have laid them out for you in “Waiting periods: what you need to know (2021)”. There, we explain the four different waiting period types, and when they can be applied. There are also numerous examples.

Interested in Late Joiner Penalties? We have an extensive article on it here.

When do medical aids allow a “no waiting period”?

There are 4 scenarios where a waiting period will not be applied:

  • You are changing plans within the same scheme.
  • You are involuntarily changing plans because of change in employment.
  • You are an employee of a Group that has negotiated a no waiting period for its employees and their dependants.
  • Your new scheme has a waiting period exemption in certain cases. For example, Discovery will not impose the 3 month general waiting period if you have been a member of a medical aid for 24 months, have not been hospitalised in last year, and are not currently on any treatment or medication.

The bad news

If you are looking for a new medical aid because you need immediate medical coverage, then the chances are that you will have a waiting period imposed, unless you are lucky to join an employer group that has an exemption.

Medical aids are not known for waiving waiting periods for sick patients.

Medical Aids are also obliged to apply the same rules to everybody who is in a similar circumstance, so if they were to offer you a waiting period exemption they need to offer it to everyone in a similar situation.

What can you do if you need cover immediately?

Join a medical aid as soon as possible. The sooner the waiting period clock starts ticking, the sooner it will be over.

If you are pregnant and want medical aid during your pregnancy, we have an article on that here.

The good news is that the longest general waiting period a scheme can impose is 3 months. So although you might have a condition-specific waiting period of 12 months, should you have any other (unrelated) health issues, those will be covered in line with the plan’s regular benefits after the 3 months.

Be honest in your application!

Please, do not think that you can lie or omit crucial and relevant information on your medical aid application.

Should it come to light that you withheld any information (intentionally or not) the scheme is allowed to cancel your membership with immediate effect. And the medical aids do research your claims.

There’s more help here:

Hi! I'm Eve Dmochowska, rehealth's founder.

Thanks for reading this far! I hope it was useful.

rehealth is a small, self-funded startup, growing the mission to help South Africans make informed healthcare choices. An informed patient is a healthier patient!

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And if you are in the business of healthcare and see opportunities here, please give me a shout. hello@rehealth.co.za

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