Home > Medical schemes > General info Updated 08 February 2016 What you absolutely must know about your medical savings account Many medical scheme members have difficulty understanding just how the medical savings account (MSA) works. Here's some help. 6 Shutterstock Related Honesty and your medical history Cut medical scheme costs Are medical schemes a rip-off? Like us on Facebook » Subscribe to the newsletter » Ask CyberDoc » Quiz How long will you live? » Medical history Bacteria gallery On many full medical schemes members have what is called a medical savings account (MSA). This is usually a percentage of their contributions that gets put into a separate account, from which certain benefits are paid, such as doctors’ visits and acute medication, to name but two.Read more: FAQ on medical schemesOnce you have exhausted this, you will move into what is known as a ‘self-payment gap’. Certain benefits (depending on your individual scheme), such as X-rays and chronic medication and hospitalisation are not paid from the MSA. So these remain covered regardless of whether you have exhausted your MSA, or not.Here are some facts on MSAs which every medical scheme member should know.The MSA may not be more than 25% of your total contribution.A member and his/her dependants do not each get a separate MSA. They have one MSA between them, but it is obviously proportionally a lot bigger than that given to a single member.Members need to submit an account not later than the last day of the fourth month following the month in which the service was rendered. Accounts submitted later than this will not be paid, unless the scheme deems the circumstances to be exceptional.Members cannot withdraw their MSA in cash if they have a credit balance. You can only get the balance in cash if you terminate your membership and do not join another scheme option with an MSA, or if you choose no longer to be a medical scheme member.You cannot pay monthly membership contributions out of your medical savings account.According to the Medical Schemes Act, co-payment cannot be settled out of your MSA.Your scheme must provide you with regular statements which show which accounts have been paid, exactly what they were for, and what your MSA balance is now. Your scheme should settle your claims within 30 days of receipt of the claim.Every scheme has predetermined amounts that it will pay for certain procedures. These will be indicated on your statement. Private doctors are entitled to charge more than the amount determined by the scheme. Some schemes have networks of doctors contracted in to particular schemes, who undertake not to charge more than the set amounts for certain procedures.(Sources: The Council for Medical Schemes, Health24)(Compiled by Susan Erasmus)Read more: Hospital plan vs. medical schemeHow to choose a medical scheme Susan Erasmus is a freelance writer for Health24. NEXT ON HEALTH24X The value of digital technology in addressing quality care 2017-05-17 04:48 More: Medical schemesGeneral info advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 6 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical SEE: How this woman's foot fungus got out of control Mental health Do we need a break from our smartphones? Medical Can you cough up a lung? Medical SEE: Why do I get asthma when I exercise? Medical Scientists discover a possible cause for restless legs syndrome Lifestyle How being the office germaphobe is making you sick From our sponsors R2000 Skin Renewal online store voucher up for grabs! Dementia and Incontinence: what you need to know 8 strategies for treating both your bladder problems and your depression Live healthier Don't even bother » SEE: When you cough, this is what happens to your body LISTEN: Can you spot the smoker’s cough? 7 cough remedies that definitely don’t work A chronic cough can be the bane of your life. Here are seven cough remedies you shouldn't waste your time with. Be in the know! » How to manage sensitive teeth 5 ways runners mess up their teeth Oral health basics: what you need to know Dr Simon Reeves talks us through the importance of oral health basics. Here’s how to care for your teeth properly.