Save for medical expenses
Even if you belong to a medical scheme, it is likely that you will incur some medical expenses that are not covered by your scheme.
Comprehensive medical scheme cover has become unaffordable for many people, and most schemes now focus on covering you for major medical expenses and some basic day-to-day needs. This often means you need to dig into your own pocket at some stage during the year for out-of-hospital treatment.
Setting aside a regular amount to pay for out-of-pocket medical needs may help to soften the financial shock to your budget.
Some scheme administrators offer medical savings plans that are not part of the medical scheme. These may be a good idea if:
You are already contributing to your medical scheme the maximum amount you can deduct from your taxable income for medical scheme contributions (R625 a month for a single member, R1 250 a month for a member and the first dependant, and an additional R380 a month for any further dependants); and
You are the kind of person who may be tempted to raid your savings earmarked for medical expenses for other purposes, because money saved in these products can be used only for medical expenses.
If you are more disciplined, you may find lower-cost and higher-interest-paying savings products elsewhere.
If your medical scheme offers preventative healthcare benefits such as pap smears, prostate checks and mammograms, resolve to use them this year. Detecting an illness early on could save not only your health but also your scheme benefits.