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    Socio-demographic characteristics that influence the costs of healthcare and wellness food products

    Socio-demographic characteristics refer to various factors that describe and analyse populations, such as age, gender, income, education, employment status, marital status, ethnicity, and geographic location. These can influence a person's health status and the likelihood of needing medical care and play an essential role in determining how people pay for health and wellness food products or medical aid.

    Age: It is important to consider age when choosing medical aid plans or health and wellness food products. Older individuals may require more comprehensive medical aid coverage due to their increased likelihood of developing chronic health conditions. Additionally, their dietary needs may differ from younger individuals, and they may require specific food products that cater to their age-related health concerns. Health costs can also increase with age, requiring better benefits which come at a higher cost.

    Gender: Certain health conditions and diseases affect men and women differently. Women often require more specialised healthcare services, such as obstetric and gynaecological care, and are more likely to seek preventive care. Health and wellness food products are marketed differently to men and women based on their unique dietary needs and preferences. Women compare authenticity and quality while envisioning the costs, while men incline towards food diversity for healthy and habitual aspects.

    Socio-demographic characteristics that influence the costs of healthcare and wellness food products

    Income level/employment: Individuals with lower income levels may have limited access to medical aid and may need to prioritise their spending on essential items. It can lead to delayed or skipped medical care and poorer health outcomes. Income level also determines the affordability of health and wellness food products. Employers may provide cover through their employer, while those unemployed may need to purchase coverage independently. Furthermore, people subjected to intense work activity or who work in dangerous environments will often consider medical aid plans with richer benefits.

    Education level: Educational levels can influence an individual's understanding of health and wellness and their ability to make informed decisions about their health. Individuals with higher levels of education may have better health literacy and be more likely to choose medical aid plans that offer more significant benefits or opt for higher-quality health and wellness food products. Education and income are often interlinked.

    Marital status: Married couples may be able to access medical aid coverage through their spouse's employer or may be able to obtain cover at a lower cost through a joint policy, as an adult dependant. Often, married couples would choose healthier food alternatives for the family, while most single individuals are likely to have meals that are quick and convenient or dine out more and thus will not prioritise health and wellness food products.

    Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups may have higher rates of certain health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, which can lead to higher healthcare costs. They may also face language or cultural barriers to accessing healthcare. These same cultural norms may also affect the type of food and diet that certain ethnic groups prefer to eat. While every ethnicity has healthy and unhealthy food choices, some diets can add to the continuing occurrence of ethnic-specific diseases.

    Geographic location: Where individuals live can impact their access to medical aid and health and wellness food products. Individuals in rural areas may have fewer easily accessible healthcare providers and may need to travel further to access health and wellness food products.

    Partnering with you, no matter who you are

    Overall, it is vital to consider the above factors when making health and wellness spending decisions to ensure that you can access the products and services that best meet your needs.

    No matter what stage in life you may be at, Medshield has a tailored and affordable package for you. We are the 6th largest open scheme, providing enhanced member value products that suit you as an individual and at every stage of your life. We have a national footprint in all 9 provinces and our network of providers are easily accessible, even in rural areas. We continuously review and improve the range of benefits so that you can continue Living Assured.

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