How to get through your self-payment gap

If you have a health insurance or medical aid policy, you will inevitably reach a point where you have used up your medical savings and you find yourself in the dreaded self-payment gap. Self-payment gaps vary in size depending on what health insurance or medical aid plan you have. No matter the size, however, you will find yourself having to pay for your own medical bills during this time, until you reach the threshold – which marks the end of your self-payment gap.

Being liable for your medical bills can be stressful, so we’ve put together some advice to

help you get through your self-payment gap:

Always check your medicine cabinet

Before going to the pharmacy and buying medication, you should first look to see if you already have what you need in your medicine cabinet. Oftentimes people forget what medication they already own, so double checking your medicine cabinet before you go to the pharmacy will help you avoid buying duplicates and save you money.

Visit the pharmacy instead of the GP

Look at going to your local pharmacy’s clinic or getting over the counter medication, rather than paying for a doctor’s consultation. Most pharmacy clinics offer flu and vitamin injections, vaccinations, basic wound care, blood pressure screening, health assessments and HIV tests; at an affordable price.

Ask your pharmacist for generic medication

There are generic versions available for most prescribed brand-name medications. Generic medications are usually a lot more affordable while still containing the same active ingredients and being held to the same quality standards as the original medication. By choosing the generic version of your prescribed medication, you will not only be able to avoid incurring high costs during your self-payment gap, but you will also ensure that you go through your health insurance’s medical savings at a slower rate.

Choose to see a GP rather than a specialist

Specialist consultation fees can be extremely high, especially if they charge out of scheme rates; this can eat into your medical savings and can be a daunting expense during your self-payment gap. It is important to assess the severity of your illness so that you get the correct level of care. Rather than going directly to a specialist, first consider whether it is an issue which can be adequately treated by a GP.

Compare the consultation fees of medical service providers

Rather than opting for medical service providers in your area, check if your health insurance or medical aid has any contracted or recommended medical service providers, as they may offer more affordable rates. You should also compare the fees of different medical service providers and opt for one that offers more affordable rates.

It is important to remember that although you will have to pay for your medical expenses during your self-payment gap, you should still submit claims to your medical aid during this period so that they can monitor how you’re moving through your self-payment gap and see when you reach your threshold

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