“Can I be refused membership by a medical aid if I am very sick or very old?”

No, you can’t! Medical aid schemes are not allowed to decline you coverage for any reason, other than fraud. They are also not allowed to decline continuing cover for any reason, other than fraud or non-payment of premium.

A scheme, can, however impose waiting periods and late joiner penalties.

A scheme is also not allowed to charge you a different (higher) premium because of your past medical history.

Another worthwhile read:
Is your late joiner penalty worked out correctly?

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We tell you things your medical aid does not want you to know. Fun, huh?