SPONSORED - South African consumers, like consumers in other countries around the world, have not exactly had the easiest 2022 up until now.
On the back of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic which crippled the global economy with loss of lives and livelihoods, came the Russian invasion of the Ukraine in February, driving fuel price hikes and causing global shortages in food products like maize, wheat and oilseeds.
As if the resultant significant fuel price increases in South Africa over the past few months have not been enough, annual consumer inflation spiked to 7.4% in June, from 6.5% in May.
The June rate is the highest inflation recorded since May 2009 (8.0%) following the global financial crisis – the highest in 13 years.
Furthermore, in a bid to curb inflation, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) sharply increased the repo rate by 75 basis points to 5.5% on 21 July 2022.
Consumers feeling the pinch in many ways
Says Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop: “Household finances are under increasing pressure, and this is expected to continue over the remainder of the year and in 2023, suppressing economic growth as SARB quickens its rate hike trajectory.”
The higher fuel price is a major culprit in the rising inflation levels. Not only does it mean that it costs more for consumers to keep their vehicles on the road, but also that consumer goods cost more because of higher logistics costs. It therefore comes as no surprise that a basket of goods will cost the consumer more.
Rising interest rates also mean rising borrowing debt for consumers, including bonds, credit cards and various types of short-term loans, which decreases their spending capacity.
What NOT to cut when times are tough
During financially difficult periods, many of us have to go back to the budget drawing board to see where we could save money just to keep head above water.
Unfortunately, items like short-term insurance and medical aid are often the type of expenses that people sacrifice to gain a few thousand extra rands per month.
But in the long term, giving up private medical aid cover can have a very costly impact. Life is full of unforeseen twists and turns, and what if you or your children need urgent hospital treatment or are diagnosed with a serious illness?
Having an extended break in your medical aid cover also means that you will pay higher rates for your medical aid should you eventually take up cover again.
With Fedhealth, you don’t have to give up your medical aid
At Fedhealth, we get that medical aid is a big expense for many families. So a few years ago, we introduced our flexiFED option range – medical aid options structured in such a way to give the member more control over their medical aid expenses whilst ensuring quality health cover. Here’s how:
1. Our flexiFED options let you choose if and how much day-to-day funds you use.
· That’s right, you can use your flexiFED option as a supercharged hospital plan only to save (it already has built-in benefits paid from Risk to give you more value) BUT you enjoy the peace of mind that you’re covered should you need hospitalisation. From just R1 481 p/m
· OR, you can choose to access only a certain amount of the day-to-day funds we make available to you and only pay back what you use over 12 months. So you’re in control what your day-to-day repayments are. If you don’t use it, you don’t pay for it.
· Finally, you also have the flexibility to use it like the medical savings account on any other medical aid – we will make an amount available at the beginning of the year and you pay the same amount for your day-to-day every month.
2. Our GRID* options let you pay 11% less every month by using Fedhealth Network Hospitals only.
Choose a GRID discount and you’ll be restricted to our network of over 150 world-class private hospitals, but pay 11% less on your flexiFED rate.
3. Our Elect* options let you pay 25% less every month by paying a fixed co-payment on planned hospital procedures.
Choose an Elect discount, and you’ll pay a R13 000 co-payment on all planned hospital procedures, but save 25% on your monthly rate.
* Both GRID and Elect restrictions only apply in case of planned procedures, like elective C-sections for example. The restrictions do not apply in case of accidents or emergencies.
Yes, right now times in South Africa are hard and we are cash-strapped like never before. But with some planning and by choosing a flexiFED option from Fedhealth, you will weather the storm without putting your precious health at risk.
Call the Fedhealth Customer Contact Centre on 0860 002 153, visit fedhealth.co.za or speak to your broker.