Medical Schemes Improve In SAcsi Survey But Customers Still Not Happy
A survey conducted by independent firm South Africa Customer Satisfaction Index (SACSI), found that the majority of policyholders in the country are unhappy with their medical schemes. More than 3,000 customers of South Africa’s leading medical aid providers including Discovery Health, Bonitas, Momentum Health and Liberty Health were interviewed. However, the industry’s mean score, 74.4 out of 100, showed a slight improvement from 2013. But this is still one point behind the score of the life insurance industry. Overall, though, SA schemes have cause for celebration as they topped the international satisfaction index. Their closest competition was the United States with a mean of 70, closely followed by Singapore which scored 69.
Of the firms that participated in the survey, Bonitas emerged with the highest score, 1.8 points more than the average. This is the second time in succession the medical cover provider has come up trumps. Below the industry mean were Momentum and Liberty which scored 69.6 and 71.1 percent respectively. The scores were based on three main kinds of plans; hospital plans, comprehensive schemes and network schemes. Of the three options, network options evidenced the lowest level of satisfaction according to the survey.
SACSI says Perception is to blame
The SACSI founder, Professor AdreSchreuder, believes network policies’ poor score is a problem of perception. He believes providers can cure it by improving understanding of this category of products. “It may be that customers with network plans do not completely understand the co-payment aspect of these schemes…” he said. In light of the fact that most folks feel they don’t really need to buy medical aid policies, providers should make the effort to clarify such details, Schreuder believes.
An important point that the survey discovered is that customer expectations had not changed from previous years. Yet the strides made by medical aid providers towards improving satisfaction are almost negligible. The fact that no medical scheme in the country is meeting the expectations of policyholders means there is a gap in the industry that can be exploited. Schreuder believes that anyone innovative enough to come up with products that address these expectations at an individual level stands to gain.
Having said that, there are some firms which were surveyed that did improve their individual satisfaction indices. Discovery Health and Medihelp both improved their scores by two points from the previous survey. By contrast, some like Momentum and Liberty Health which were found to be below the industrymean, did drop points.
The survey was conducted towards the end of 2014 and data was collected via telephone interviews and web surveys. The 3,000-plus respondents were randomly chosen from the different schemes selected to participate in the survey. Each firm had at least 298 policyholders selected. As a measure of how accurate the results of this survey are, consider that it had a margin of error of just 1.3%. The model used to gauge customer satisfaction is one that has been tried and tested and conforms to international standards. Companies can therefore rely on the SACSI index to evaluate the level of satisfaction among their clients and make necessary adjustments.
* How to choose a medical aid scheme – click here for YouTube video