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Plan for your monthly healthcare costs

By Priya Shah | Published Tue, March 21st 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 20th 2017 at 21:12 GMT +3
Medical check-ups, if done annually at first and found to be normal, can be delayed to being done either every two years or only some tests; not all may need to be repeated annually.

Cost and the quality of healthcare is a major concern for many of us today.

Currently, the average cost of an out-patient visit depending on the facility and the disease one is being treated for can vary from as little as Sh300 to Sh6,000. The average cost of consultation varies from free up to Sh4,000.

Below are some of the factors that determine the cost and the quality of care we can expect as consumers: Seeking treatment at a registered facility with the appropriate medical personnel necessary for the care required.

For example, first aim to seek the services of a qualified nurse or a general practitioner for simple common conditions.

However, depending on the nature of the condition, the overall cost of care can be much higher if treatment is delayed or a condition is mismanaged.

After visiting the practitioner of your choice and complying with any recommendations made, go back to the same resource as quickly as possible to allow them the opportunity to investigate further or to change the treatment plan.

If after complying with the treatment offered you still see no signs of recovery, then consider the opinion of a different practitioner or more specialised resource.

It helps to be involved and to understand the details of the treatment path the provider is taking you through, including the timelines of recovery and any side effects of the medication prescribed.

As the patient, it is your right to know what tests or medication the provider is prescribing and why and when you can expect the results or by when you should feel better.

Ideally tests should help the provider arrive at the diagnosis and medication should be offered ideally after a diagnosis has been made. Treatment to manage the symptoms of a condition should be offered while the practitioner waits to arrive at a diagnosis.

Discuss the costs of the care with your medical practitioner and whether there could be any options that can help reduce the cost without compromising on the quality of care. This could include the provider recommending good quality generic drugs.

Most generic drugs that are available are as effective as the original drugs and yet cost a fraction of the price, making care more affordable.

This is especially valuable to those that require regular medication.

The key misconception is that generics are less effective than the original drugs. If the product being used is genuine and from a good company, it should not be cause for worry.

Try and use drugs manufactured by reputable pharmaceutical companies. If unsure consult your pharmacist or medical practitioner and look up the company online.

It is good to consider insurance, especially for the unforeseen high cost healthcare expenses as these could jeopardise the livelihood of your family.

Buying insurance for one’s healthcare needs is ultimately the best way to protect yourself from the risk of the increasing cost of healthcare.

Try to have a savings target monthly to help you set aside enough funds to be able to purchase insurance.

As you plan your budgets, aim to set aside additional funds within your annual budget that caters for healthcare, allow for medical health check-up and other forms of preventative care like vaccinations.

Medical check-ups, if done annually at first and found to be normal, can be delayed to being done either every two years or only some tests; not all may need to be repeated annually. Discuss this with a doctor whom you visit regularly. It is always desirable to have a family doctor who knows your medical status that can then advise on such matters.

It is advisable that within the annual Health budget we cater for medical check up’s to be done periodically as these can identify any health needs early rather than when a condition has progressed and at that stage treatment is more expensive and invasive.

Seeking treatment early helps avoid high cost admissions and will positively impact on one’s quality of life.

Save for your out-patient healthcare. Most Kenyans today at the point of requiring care are forced to ask their friends and family to support them to be able to meet the healthcare needs for themselves and their families.

M-Tiba has been designed to allow us all to be able to set funds aside as often as we can and in as small amounts as possible for future healthcare needs.

Once people have some savings, they are more likely to seek care earlier and reduce the chances of catastrophic expenditure.