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What’s the best medical aid for diabetics?

We asked Diabetic South Africans to vote on the best medical aid for people with diabetes in South Africa – and why. Medical aids can be really difficult to choose, so we thought it would be helpful to hear from the community what works for them.

The best medical aid for diabetics

Here are the results! Comment below if you want to add your vote about the best medical aid for diabetics to the list…


Bonitas

Bonitas won the vote as the best medical aid for diabetics in South Africa.

  • Bonitas BonSave option. Just have a co-payment on my Tresiba and Prexum. But they pay for everything else. Have been with them for 12 years and no problem so far with them – Elmarie
  • My son is on Bonitas BonCap and they pay for his strips and insulin, just a small co-payment on his long acting. They paid his 7 day hospital bill in full when he was diagnosed. Just wish they’d pay for a CGM. – Diane
  • Bonitas…by a mile and a half BUT medical aids are VERY expensive and in my view OVER PRICED. – Isak
  • Bonitas is the best, leaving Discovery they’re too much. – Cherell
  • Bonitas – a very small co-payment. – Ivan
  • Bonitas Standard Select. – Gertruida
  • Bonitas Standard Select and have co-payments every month. But Bonitas are tops – Arrie
  • My hubby is on Bonitas BonCap plan. They pay for all his chronic medication. – Constance
  • Mom used Bonitas – Cya

Discovery

Discovery Health came out in second place, just behind Bonitas.

  • Discovery classic comprehensive.If you use your savings just for things within medical aid rates and diabetic supplies once you are in your above threshold you get R60 000 medical equipment allowance. – Casey
  • Discovery, I’m happy with the service it’s the cost that’s OTT. I’m 60 and don’t have a big monthly income, the majority of my income goes to cover our medical aid as both my husband and I are on chronic meds. – Ursula
  • Am on Discovery and they pay for all my meds on PMB. Including strips, needles and insulin. Small co-payments on some. – Trusha
  • I would definitely vote for Discovery. They are expensive but pay for everything. Good service and make sure you have gap cover. – Mariaan
  • Discovery Classic Comprehensive has been fantastic. – Nicholas
  • l’m on Discovery Classic Priority. Happy with it as it pays for everything. – Nancy
  • Discovery. – Gracel
  • No problems with Discovery. They cover everything related to diabetics, even the lancets for testing. Nothing is excluded from my experience. – Shirley
  • Discovery South Africa has been great. I’m just working on more test strips. – Leigh

GEMS

GEMS (Government Employee’s Medical Scheme) is for state employees. It came third, but that’s not helpful if you don’t work for the government!

  • GEMS – Siphiwe
  • I’m on GEMS, excellent support, send you reminders for all your tests, a nurse also calls to check on your wellbeing and they cover all my medication. Only problem is they pay for 50 strips a month so if you’re testing your sugar twice a day for like 4/5 days you don’t have strips. – Louise
  • GEMS Emerald package – Celeste

Momentum Health

Momentum Health and Fedhealth tied as the next best medical aid for diabetics.

  • Momentum is very good to me. Paying all my diabetic medication and doctors visits. – Jane
  • Momentum Health has been very good to me for a few years now. They pay for my chronic insulin, glucophage and simvastatin in full, unlimited GP visits and two specialist visits per year. Hospital is covered as well. – Cookie

Fedhealth

Fedhealth tied with Momentum, according to Diabetic South Africans.

  • All medical aids are expensive but I’m on Fedhealth and I have no problems with them as I’m on insulin. Everything is paid. – Mark
  • Fedhealth has been super! – Britny

Polmed

Polmed (the South African Police Service Medical Scheme) also got a few votes.

  • I’m on Polmed,they slow sometimes but they get things done. They registered me on the care plan and all chronic meds paid from that basket. – Saved    
  • Polmed Marine. – Monique

And finally, Keyhealth, Profmed, Hosmed, Platinum Health, Barloworld Medscheme, Bestmed, Bankmed, Genesis and Medihelp each got a shout-out.

Keyhealth

  • Keyhealth and its paid my eye injections every month… The best – Ams

Profmed

  • Profmed have been good for us. – Brian

Hosmed

  • Hosmed…small payment on insullin otherwise no problems at all….16 years with them. – Lillian

Platinum Health

  • Platinum Health not bad. – Jaco

Barloworld Medscheme

  • Barloworld Medscheme. – Portia

Bestmed

  • All med aids are expensive, I’m on Bestmed and have not had any problems. – Pam

Bankmed

  • I am on Bankmed and I am really happy with my medical aid. They cover all my chronic medication and there is no co-payment. They cover my insulin, diabetic oral medication, strips and needles, as I test at least 7 times a day. – Pam

Genesis

  • I’m on Genesis, Private Comprehensive and they have been very good to me. Joined last November and I was well at that point of joining. Ended up very ill 19 days after joining and being hospitalized 5 times for a total of 30 days to date and they have covered me. – Tishaan

Medihelp

  • I’m on Medihelp (network 3) it pays for all meds. – Nonhlanhla

Do you agree with this vote? What do you think is the best medical aid for diabetics in South Africa?

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14 Comments

  1. Jen Henrick Jen Henrick

    Any medical aid which allows membership of the CDE as part of their benefits. All diabetic medication is included outside of your normal benefit plus annual check ups with the podiatrist, ophthalmologist and regular visits to the diabetes clinic (doctor) and endocrinologist. This is a huge plus as, if all that had to come out of your savings plan/annual doctors and specialists visits, it would be a huge blow. Please do an article on the CDE. Many people may not be aware of them and what they offer. I go to the Diabetes Life Clinic at the Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont Cape Town and they are amazing!

  2. Lolly David Lolly David

    Hi Bridgett I am on discovery medical aid and belong to the CDE but I only get 2 x endocrinologist, 1 X podiatrist, 1 X Dietician does that make up the 4. I am also on Victoza which the medical does not cover under chronic.

    I would like the name of your Broker.

    Thanks
    Lolly

  3. Steff Steff

    I have co payments on 2 of my medications because they’re not on the formulary and they exceed the “monthly allowed limit”. I’m with Discovery.

  4. claudia claudia

    Hi

    I am with Sizwe and they also have a 3 month waiting period for a pre existing condition.

    they cover all my sons medicine not sure about the pump though. They are not part of CDE so specialist visits have to be paid cash but you can claim back from your medical aid.

  5. karin vlooh karin vlooh

    I am on discovery my daughter got pancreatitis and they will not authorize rapid Inselien for her… medihelp is cheaper and I had no problems with them what so ever…

  6. Loren Loren

    Are there any hospital plans that pay for Victosa?

  7. Wayne Wayne

    Im with discovery, on classic saver, on tresiba and novorapid, and a few other items which are complication preventative meds such as aspavor(heart), fortzar(blood pressure).
    When it comes to insulins, discovery will only pay a max of R750 pm, so i end up paying in about R500pm from my own pocket. Tresiba(degludec) is amazing, so not keen to switch to anything else, well i have tried, it was not great.
    Even if you are on formularies, if you exceed the R750/limit, you pay in the balance.
    I visit my doc twice a year, discovery pays for that but some of it from savings.

    I would like to learn more about cde, but i am not keen to leave my doctor.

    • Hi Wayne!
      Looks like Discovery has just cancelled their ties with CDE, so no need to worry about that. My doctor has just put me on Toujeo, which he says is very close to Tresiba but much cheaper (I get 2 pens free from Discovery every month). You should be able to see your doc 3 times a year, get 3 HbA1c tests, a visit to the dietician, podiatrist and ophthalmologist, all included in your diabetes PMBs. You can ask them to send you the list if you like – there are specific codes that have to be used to claim the benefits.

  8. From email:
    I have been a government patient at Groote Schuur while I have been studying and now that I am in freelance work I am looking into medical aid. There are so many and it is so confusing.

    As you have a network of diabetics at your fingertips I am sure that there is banter as to which one is best for us. I went to meet with Discovery and although they are the most popular in healthcare they would only start covering my pre-existing condition after 12 months. I looked at Fedhealth and they will cover my diabetic meds after 3 months so already I prefer them!

    As I freelance I can only afford around the R1200 mark. When they say PMB does that mean that all diabetic health checks would be included as well as my meds or if i went to a GP would I have to pay for that consultation?!

    Also the doctor I was seeing said as I am a brittle diabetic I would be a good candidate for the insulin pump but government healthcare cannot supply that due to the cost. Would any medical aid supply me with this….Lots of questions I hope you can help!

    – Lisa

    Answer from our Editor, Bridget McNulty:

    Hi Lisa!

    PMBs are prescribed minimum benefits, and as a diabetic that includes all your meds, as long as you choose the ones that the medical aid has on their formulary (you can ask them for their formulary list to be sure yours are on there, but it’s generally possible to get any brand). They often won’t cover you for 3/12 months for any other check-ups, but they have to cover your chronic medicine. Ask to see the chronic illness benefit details and that will give you more clarity as to what you can get.

    I’m on Discovery and I get all my meds and 4 x endocrinologist visits a year (they sometimes have to be reminded of this!) as part of the chronic benefit. I think most medical aids are pretty similar on hospital plan, but it’s definitely worth shopping around. I have a very nice Discovery broker if you want to chat to him? That’s generally how they work (and it’s no extra cost to you).

    As for the pump, I know that it’s only the top tier medical aid that it gets automatically covered, but I have heard of people motivating for one. The trouble there is that even if you get the pump, they don’t always cover the monthly consumables (on top of the insulin) so you may have to pay for that yourself. You can find out if you’re ready for an insulin pump here.

    Again, this is just one perspective – let me know if you’d like me to open up the conversation!
    Have a lovely day,
    Bridget

  9. MAURICE TURIEL MAURICE TURIEL

    I am on BONITAS and so far they have been correct with my meds, insulin and tablets.
    It costs a lot each month but so far I have as usual a little extra to pay. I have had PNEUMONITIS for two years and four months ago they bought me a portable oxygen pulse machine
    It costs R40.000 I am now looking to getting the easy patch on body and checking with a smart watch my sugars regularly. That costs a lot every month, so I have to wait for the moment.

    Thank you for your lovely articles.

    MAURICE

    • So happy to hear you’ve been treated right, Maurice! And thank you for your kind words 🙂

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