Keeping your health in check can oftentimes be an overwhelming and frustrating undertaking. Most times, it will involve managing your medical bills, keeping up with various doctor appointments and follow up visits, tests and treatments, looking for affordable health facilities, sourcing for specialists and filing health insurance claims.

Still, keeping your health in check is a continuous process that will save you time, money and stress in the long run.

Ensure your insurance lasts you throughout the year

Lucy Ndegwa from Myers Group Limited, a company that offers insurance advisory services, says people with medical insurance need to keep track of their expenditure to ensure their benefits last them the entire year.

“Medical insurance is usually an annual cover and it needs to last you the entire 12 months. So, it is important that every time you use it, you note down how much you have spent. For example, if you have an out-patient cover of KSh 50,000 or KSh 100,000, ensure it lasts you through the entire year,” she says.

Keep the premiums low

Lucy also says alongside tracking how much you are spending, it’s also important to use the medical cover only when necessary because at renewal, medical insurance companies look at how you’ve utilized the cover to decide on whether to increase your premiums or keep them at the same rate.

“I find that the people who are keen on utilization, unfortunately, are those who are paying from their pocket, and I guess it is because it pinches harder. On the other hand, individuals who worked for corporates and had a fantastic medical cover, but are no longer working, have a hard time when they have to pay for their medical costs. It’s because it hits home that it’s not a cheap benefit. So, keeping track is important because it’s also one of the ways of managing your finances,” she says.

Ensure you only pay what you owe

Another reason why people should keep track of their medical expenditure is to ensure that they are only charged for services they have received, and not more.

Pay attention to what you have been billed and if in doubt, ask questions before signing.

Lucy recommends that for every doctor’s visit, one should keep safely the receipts/invoices or any medical documents issued at the hospital for future reference.

Some of the important paperwork to keep includes:

  • Details of lab tests and any other procedures carried out during visits.
  • Prescriptions and the prescribing doctor.
  • Invoices from the doctor’s office or healthcare care provider or labs.
  • Claims filed by your doctor or yourself.
  • Co-pay receipts.
  • Reimbursements from your medical insurer.

Fortunately, there are digital methods to keep all this paperwork organized and safe such as BeWell, and the AAR mobile app, which are online platforms which keeps users’ health insurance records in one place.

M-TIBA is also another platform which helps people to keep track of their medical spending. M-Tiba is an end-to-end platform where users can access affordable healthcare via mobile phone. The platform allows one to save medical funds on the M-Tiba wallet (for the uninsured) and provides access to over 3,000 healthcare facilities which include specialists.

Avoid paying for tests/treatments already done

The platform, which has an App or USSD code *253#, keeps a patient’s treatment history and is therefore instrumental in referral cases.

“When you go for referral, you can show and explain to your doctor the treatments you’ve received. It therefore means that you don’t have to repeat some of the tests and procedures you’ve done in the past,” says Moses Kuria, the Managing Director of CarePay Limited, the technology company behind the M-Tiba platform.

Plan better and have access to healthcare facilities near you

Kuria says M-Tiba empowers its users by giving them control of their healthcare spending through their mobile phones. On the App, they can initiate treatment and track their expenditure transparently and efficiently.

Tracking usage of medical funds, Kuria says, also helps one to plan ahead.

“Illnesses are not planned. When you’re unwell, you need to already know, ‘do I have enough to go to the hospital? What am I entitled to?’, so that you are not shocked when you arrive at the hospital or at the clinic and you’re told ‘sorry, you’re not entitled to get this treatment or this procedure’. M-Tiba also enables you to know facilities that are near, what time they open and you can call in advance,” he says.

M-Tiba was borne out of the need to increase quality, affordable healthcare and to drive health inclusion by using technology.

According to Kuria, two out of every five Kenyans cannot afford to access healthcare, and therefore don’t go to hospital because of lack of money.

Most times, it is poor mothers and young children who are vulnerable, and have to pay out-of-pocket which creates a financial strain on families.