Updated 24 July 2013

The hidden costs of hospitalisation

Family hospital visits can add up to an extra tank of petrol each week and at current prices that’s no small change.

Few people realise how fast daily costs can accumulate when hospitalised and while the bulk of the actual medical costs can be controlled by being a member of a medical aid scheme, there are a number of additional costs related to hospitalisation that we only become aware of when faced with the daily hospital routine of early breakfasts and uninspiring menu options.

Let’s look at an average scenario. A common traffic accident resulting in injuries requiring medical attention such as broken bones and a severe concussion would see you wake up in hospital with your family wringing their hands at your bedside. The relief of being alive is soon tempered by the realisation that this is going to cost money. And it’s not just accidents that put people in hospital; many diseases can keep us there for weeks.

When a mother who is used to running the household on a daily basis is hospitalised and all the other costs that will be accrued when she can no longer run the household are added up, it starts to look scary. Cooking, cleaning, the kids’ transportation and homecare could seriously compromise the family finances - these services don’t come cheap. A family can only go so long with recycled socks and fast food. Even if her partner could get time off work, the leave time will be limited.

Here are some of the costs that may come about:

Family visits
Family hospital visits can add up to an extra tank of petrol each week and at current prices that’s no small change.

Extra help
Ever tried making yourself a sandwich and coffee when both of your hands are stuck to crutches? And even if you manage to do it by balancing on one leg, how are you going to carry the coffee back to the table? You will need help, so your partner or even a nurse will have to take care of you for a while. You also may have to pay someone to help run your business or even drive you around.

Convenience foods
When a family member needs to be visited and there are visiting times to adhere to, there is scant time for cooking and shopping, especially if both partners work. A family of four can easily plough through a couple of hundreds of rands a day if they are relying on fast food and quick meals. Convenience foods can add 30% to a grocery bill, so your family budget may look rather bleak when you are discharged.

With regard to long-term hospitalisation, a boss may give the partner of a victim compassionate leave for a few days but after that, the partner may have to take official leave or unpaid leave if there is no leave due. This can add up to a significant amount of money. If the income earner relies on commission, this can present a serious problem because if they don’t sell, they don’t earn.

So how do you avoid the risk of a financial calamity? If you have never heard of Hospital Cash Back Cover, then it’s time to take notice. This is an insurance policy that you can purchase to cover for out-of-pocket expenses that are not covered by your medical aid. The reason hospital cash back plans were developed is because people often find themselves out of pocket after a long hospital stay. It is not a medical aid but rather insurance for incidental expenses that arise as a result of a hospital stay.   FRANK.NET’s Hospital Cash Back Cover will pay up to R5000 per day for every day you have been in hospital. This is as long as you’ve been admitted for three consecutive nights, under the care of a registered specialist, you can claim from your first full night up to and including your 90th consecutive night.

The good news is that you are free to spend this money how you wish. The premiums are very reasonable and won’t change for the first 12 months, regardless of whether you claim or not. This kind of policy will ensure that your budget does not get sideswiped by unplanned expenses. While Hospital Cash Back Cover can help when you are hospitalised, it is essential that you have your other risk products in place as a cash back plan will not be much use to your family if you die without life cover. Check the details and exclusions of the policy to ensure you understand its benefits.

Contact FRANK.NET on 0860 22 55 38 for a free Hospital Cash Back Cover quote.