Thinking of changing your medical aid? Before you switch medical aid plan, or downgrade to a cheaper option, there are a few things to consider…

Cancellation terms

Be aware of the cancellation terms at your existing medical aid plan. You will usually have to give one month’s written notice. Some schemes require three months’ notice.

Waiting periods

According to the Medical Schemes Act, your new scheme is entitled to impose waiting periods that have not expired at the previous scheme at the time of termination. This is especially important if you are planning to have surgery or treatment for a pre-existing condition. Notwithstanding the type of plan, you subscribe to at the new scheme, you will have to wait for up to a year before you are entitled to lodge a claim relating to a pre-existing health issue.

Benefit limits

When you change to a new scheme, any limits on benefits are calculated on a pro-rata basis. Switch mid-way through the year, and you are only eligible for half the prescribed limits for the remainder of that year. That is why you should change to a new scheme or plan at the beginning of the 12-month calendar cycle.


Medical savings are paid to members in full at the start of a new year. When you terminate membership, the scheme will calculate how much of the savings you have already used for that year. You will then be paid out any excess savings, or you will have to pay money back to the scheme.


Most low-cost medical aid plans impose co-payments on certain treatments and procedures. If your existing option does not charge co-payments but has a slightly higher monthly premium, think twice before making the switch.


Until next time.

The MoneyShop Team


This article has been prepared for information purposes only and it does not constitute legal, financial, or medical advice. The publication, journalist, and companies or individuals providing commentary cannot be held liable in any way. Readers are advised to seek legal, financial, or medical advice where appropriate.