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. More in Medical schemes Potential amalgamation between Bonitas medical fund and Liberty medical scheme 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 Lifestyle Kids' metabolism may slow down during puberty Medical 'Natural killer' cell infusion may help leukaemia patients Diet and nutrition How to make sure you achieve your goals Medical Alcoholics may lack enzyme that controls impulse to drink Parenting Bond between kids and parents has long-term health benefits Medical Heavy drinking can harm the ageing brain From our sponsors How to still have a good life with diabetes Eye-Q: R50 off! Lose weight Otrivin Menthol relieves sinus congestion Live healthier Love coffee? Your heart may too » What to eat for white teeth Bad foods for teeth-whitening Do any of these drinks cause your teeth to hurt? Savour your coffee – with a bright smile Here's how to stop coffee from staining your teeth while enjoying all its health benefits. Get your groove back! » Get your move on! Morning run? 5 exercises to start your summer fitness regime 6 easy ways to make your workout fun again Some inspiration to make sure your workout routine don't become tedious.