Planning Medical Aid for 2017
Every beginning of the each Medical Aid Scheme implements premium increases and benefits change. Most of these schemes will notify member’s approx 6- 8 weeks before implementation so that the members can become aware of any changes. That is why medical aid for 2017 is crucial.
This is a good time to review your benefits and ask an Independent Medical Aid consultant if the option that you have is still suitable for you particularly if your circumstance have changed.
High Increases by South African Medical Aid for 2017
Unfortunately, Medical Aids in South Africa are all raising their premiums considerably above the CPI percentage which is forecast at 6.8 % for 2017. In fact, Medical Aids which are governed by the Council for Medical Schemes recommend annual % increases for schemes at 5.9 % plus an additional 3 % varying factor.
Why are Medical Aid Schemes Showing Such Huge Increases Over the Boards
The schemes have had to prove to the Medical Schemes Council that such large increases are justified. All the schemes have shown a marked increase in claims during 2016. Also, medicals costs have risen steeply.
The only way schemes can remain profitable is to
- Cut Benefits
- Increase Contributions NOTE: Schemes regarding the law must hold funds to the value 25 % of total contributions in reserve at any given time.
Below is a list of INCREASES for 2-17 in the major Medical Aid Schemes (Weighted across the board percentages)
Momentum Health: – 11.0 %
Discovery Health: – 10.2 %
Fedhealth: – 12.7 %
Schemes are further justifying these increases as the average age of scheme participants in South Africa, are growing older and this comes with increased claims. Also, Medical Costs have increased during 2016 beyond inflation by between 10 – 15 %. %
There is still, however, the value in belonging to a Medical Aid Scheme, as with such increases, it will become increasing difficult to meet costs without help.
There are ways to limit financial shortfalls with medical aid for 2017
Benefits: Members should check benefits in case there are changes will require co-payments or reduced limits. Your Medical Aid consultant can further advise on these.
Wherever possible use generic medicines. These are usually significantly lower in costs and by law contain the same ingredients.There have been price increases of 4.8 % for pharmaceuticals in South Africa. Research into the cost of generic vs. originator drugs has shown that generics were 56.1% cheaper. The gap is widening all the time.
Make lifestyle changes where necessary. This will result in a healthier body, with corresponding fewer claims.
Choose an option that suits your lifestyle and circumstances. If you are a young healthy person, then it may be better to take a lower tiered option rather than cancel your benefits.
Consider taking out gap cover to take care of any medical aid shortfalls.