The trend for the past number of years continues and supports the Minister of Health’s call for an investigation into the ever increasing costs of private health care. Sadly the announcements made so far continue the past trend of a number of years now wherein medical scheme member contributions increase well above the normal inflation rate namely CPI -consumer price index. Healthcare inflation has been higher than CPI-linked inflation for most of the past decade.
So how does the state of the land of increases look for now?
- Discovery – 9.9% (Executive option 10.9 %)
- Bonitas – 7.2% (Range between options 5.7 % to 9.8%)
- Momentum – 7.9% (Range between options 3.5 % to 10.8% top option)
- Genesis – 5.5% (Maybe bigger is not better for future increases? The smallest scheme has the lowest increase so far for 2015) Well done Genesis
Other increases also announced are listed below.
- Bestmed – 8.6%
- Medshield – 9.5%
- Liberty Medical Scheme – 10.4%
- Fedhealth – 10.6%
- Medihelp – 12.5%
Trends I am observing are that many schemes are getting more involved in wellness or encouraging their members by incentivising some good behaviour change. Some schemes apply a Robin Hood approach by charging more on their top plans and less on their low cost options. A new and interesting trend and one I do believe will grow in years to come is for schemes to structure their offerings around the member and his/er circumstances.
The one lack that I do see is real cost saving initiatives. We need to revisit how the private healthcare system is structured. Schemes have billions in reserve. Why is no one leveraging these funds to drive down costs by getting involved in the supply side or different models of care delivery?
So why blog on this?
All members have a once a year opportunity to review their health plans and most don’t take advantage of the opportunity. I urge scheme members to do their homework to understand how their 2015 benefits have been adjusted which could be some erosions (no adjustment to annual limits) and what the financial increases are. Check whether various limits and sub-limits have stayed the same or dropped because both of these actions are akin to a reduction in benefits. Once all the intricacies of various plans are known, it is a matter of choosing the best fit.
Questions to ask when deciding on a plan for you and/or your family:
- Did your lifestyle or life stage change in the last 12 months?
- What are your day-to-day out of hospital healthcare needs?
- Are you comfortable with being restricted to a specific network of providers?
- Do you like the idea of a flexible medical savings account that gives you control over day-to-day benefits?
- Do you like the flexibility of a savings account, but also want the security of a ‘safety net’ should your needs increase unexpectedly – threshold benefits?
- Or do you prefer out of hospital benefits to be covered by the scheme, subject to insured limits?
- Do you use ongoing medication for a chronic condition?
- What are your in-hospital needs?
- Lastly which plan is affordable for you?
Happy hunting for the right medical benefit option for 2015.