Health insurance is one of those policies you simply can’t live without. Why? Because you never know what may happen in the future. You can’t be sure you won’t be ill. You won’t be warned about a car accident before it happens. And you’ll never know at the beginning of the day whether you’re going to end up in the emergency room or not. And that’s why it’s important you have the peace of mind that only health insurance can offer you.

Hospitals, doctors and medication can cost a lot of money. Money that you may not have right at that moment and you don’t want to be left in debt. Which is why you should know these four things about your health insurance.

What medications are you covered for?

Do you have a chronic illness that requires certain medications? Are these covered by your health insurance benefits or your medical aid Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs)? Or are they something you’ll have to pay for yourself? If you have to take a variety of medications every month, it can become quite costly. You’ll want to be sure that you’re covered for some of these at least.

Which doctors and hospitals can you visit?

Most health insurance providers have a network of hospitals and general practitioners you can visit. Before you sign up for a health insurance policy, ensure there is a hospital and a GP in their network you can access in your area. You don’t want to have to travel to get the healthcare you need when you need it most. You often won’t be in a position to drive many kilometres to get medical attention.

Are you covered for pre-existing conditions?

Do you have pre-existing conditions that you need medical care on a regular basis to treat? Then you should make sure that these conditions are covered by your health insurance provider before you take out a policy. Some providers allow for certain pre-existing conditions to be covered while others are only partially covered.

Which procedures are you covered for?

You never know what could happen and there’s no way to tell what procedures you may need in the future. But you do know what procedures you’re more likely to need. For example, if you never want to have children, you won’t need to be covered for procedures such as giving birth or having a C-section. But you may want to ensure that you can have your appendix removed if it’s giving you trouble and is at risk of bursting.

At the end of the day, you need to know the basics, like the difference between hospital cover and medical insurance. That way, you know exactly what you’re covered for.