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Updated 09 February 2016

Can anyone become a member of a medical scheme?

Medical schemes used to have the right to reject applications from old or sick applicants, but they may no longer do so legally.

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Can anyone become a member of a medical scheme?
Yes. Medical schemes used to be able to reject applications from old/sick applicants because they would be a high risk to the scheme. In terms of the Medial Schemes Act 131 of 1998, all applications must now be accepted. The scheme may exclude treatment for a specific illness condition for a maximum time period of 12 months, depending on your previous medical scheme history. They may also impose a three-month general waiting period, depending on your previous medical scheme history. Should a person apply at a late stage in his/her life, the scheme may increase the contribution (late joiner penalty), also depending on their previous medical scheme history. Some schemes are not open to the general public and are restricted to a company's employees, profession or union. These schemes are called closed schemes.

Susan Erasmus is a freelance writer for Health24.

 
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