4 Things to know about your finances if you’re HIV+

4 Things to know about your finances if you’re HIV+

Last updated on 28th November, 2018 at 01:57 pm

If you’re HIV-positive or know someone who is, there are some important things to consider in order to help you enjoy life to its fullest. Start with these tips and ideas from primary healthcare specialist Samantha Drake, risk expert Karen Bongers and financial planner Craig Williams.

1 Your medical aid is legally required to cover you in full

“Like any other medical condition, medical aids are legally required to provide assistance to patients living with HIV,” says Drake. “Whether a patient is HIV positive or not, they go through the same process when acquiring medical aid.” All you need to do is choose a medical aid scheme that’s best suited to your needs.

“HIV is part of the prescribed minimum benefit and is therefore covered by all medical schemes including your treatment,” she adds. Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB) are a set of defined benefits to ensure that as a medical aid scheme member, you have access to certain minimum health services, regardless of the benefit option you choose. “This ensures that you receive continuous care to improve your health and well-being  as well as access to affordable healthcare regardless of your HIV status,” says Drake.

If you aren’t on medical aid, there are certain treatments like your antireetroviral (ARV) meds, that the government must supply you for free. You’ll need to speak to your health provider, as these drugs must be prescribed and managed with a specialist.

2 Gap cover might make sense

Medical aid is a great form of insurance, but sometimes medical treatment costs can be more than what your medical aid covers. This is where gap cover comes in handy, “as an additional insurance policy that you can take out over and above your medical aid plan to cover the excess that your medical aid could not cover,” says Drake.

For instance, if you contract TB (as a result of HIV) and it results in you needing special treatment, but your medical aid only covers a portion of the costs, “you could submit the rest of your medical fees to your gap cover provider as per the normal claims process,” Drake explains. Depending on the level of cover you take out, gap cover can allow you to focus on getting better without worrying about the financial costs.

3 Think long-term about your finances

Regardless of your HIV status, it’s important to ensure that your finances are taken care of. Some important points to consider? Bongers cautions that “accidents happen, so your financial plan should contain elements such as disability cover, which ensures that you still get income protection in case you encounter an accident.” Disability cover typically pays out a lump sum (once-off) to help you cover costs in case you can’t work due to permanent illness or an injury.

It’s good to know that HIV has the same medical loading (the adjustment in premiums for individuals with higher-risk profiles) as any other well-controlled chronic disease.  So you shouldn’t experience discrimination as a result of being HIV-positive.

You also have access to life cover which “provides you and your family with greater financial security and the opportunity to conclude other financial transactions – like taking out a home loan, for example,” she adds. “Seek help from your financial planner for a customised solution to suit your personal and financial needs.”

4 Master your budget

Long-term financial health depends on your short-term money choices, which means getting your monthly finances into shape by having a budget that works. Creating a budget not only allows you to plan for the future, but it also enables you to treat yourself and enjoy your hard-earned money!

“Start by working out how much you take home after tax and other deductions like UIF. Then go on to list your expenses and other costs (entertainment, clothing accounts etc,),” says Williams. The aim? To compare your monthly income with your expenses, and balance it out so that you’re not spending more than you’re earning. If you are spending more? Find expenses you can cut back on to brings things back in balance.

Not sure where to start? Click here for a guideline and a free budgeting template.

Remember, living with HIV and living a long, healthy life are possible together. It’s all about making the right choices and planning for your future – including financially.  For personalised advice to give you ‘peace of mind’ around your money, request a visit with a financial planner by click here.

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