Wait, What? Waiting Periods?

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There’s a very old saying: “Good things come to those who wait.” It’s an odd one, but makes perfect sense. The more you wait for – or work towards – something, the better it usually is. The problem is, sometimes you simply cannot afford to wait.

Things like medical problems make waiting unbearable or even impossible. To avoid these, there are a few things you should know about medical insurance and waiting periods.

What is a waiting period?

Simply put, a waiting period is a time frame (when you’re a member of a medical aid or medical insurance) where you’re ineligible to claim benefits or payouts from your specific provider due to certain conditions.

Why do waiting periods exist?

To protect the members of the scheme. Try and imagine a scenario where you’ve been paying your premiums each month, thinking you’re totally covered for any eventuality. The day comes where you need to undergo a medical procedure and, instead of coming out financially sound, your insurer tells you that there’s no more money available to pay out.

The reason? Because too many other people have jumped from insurer to insurer, claimed money and moved on without paying in premiums. Waiting periods help stop this kind of behaviour from happening, thereby protecting everyone insured.

But what about an emergency?

Don’t worry. Insurers like GetSavvi Health covers all paying customers for accidental events from day one. You won’t be denied cover for something like a car or work accident just because you’re a new member.

What kinds of conditions have waiting periods?

More often than not, waiting periods are put in effect for pre-existing conditions. These are medical issues you might have had for a long time, or a chronic illness that requires management. Commonly, waiting periods apply to:

  • Chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension or TB
  • Digestive system problems like hepatitis, ulcers or hernias
  • Major heart problems like angina or heart valve disorders
  • Pregnancy or childbirth-related issues
  • Cancers
  • Brain, nerve or spine disorders

Waiting periods can vary in length, depending on the type and severity of the condition. Three months is a general waiting period that’s applicable to most conditions. However, specific  conditions – and complications or other conditions directly related to that original condition – can be put on a 12-month waiting period.

What kind of waiting periods does GetSavvi Health have?

GetSavvi Health members are fairly well covered from the first day of their membership. However, benefits with major costs do come with a waiting period. These include:

  • Maternity Benefits with a 12-month waiting period
  • Day-to-day Benefits, including GP visits, with a three-month waiting period
  • Emergency and basic dentistry with a three-month waiting period
  • Optometry with a six-month waiting period
  • Chronic Medication with a 12-month waiting period
  • The funeral benefit for death due to suicide with a 12-month waiting period 
  • The funeral benefit for death due to a pre-existing condition with a six-month waiting period. 

Benefits where no waiting period is applied include:

  • Emergency ambulance services
  • Accident cover
  • The 24-hour health advisor hotline

If you want to know more about how GetSavvi Health can help you and your loved ones get access to medical benefits, simply call 0861 18 92 02 or click here for an obligations-free quote.

The waiting periods that apply to your Health+ benefit
Waiting Periods – Medical Aid Schemes
Waiting Period in Health Insurance
Understanding medical aid waiting periods
All you need to know about waiting periods on your medical scheme