What About Higher Medical Aid Premiums for 2018?

What to do about higher medical scheme premiums for 2018?

  1. You’ve got the opportunity to change your benefit plans to accommodate increases in premiums
  2. If you don’t change schemes, the average premium increase for the bigger schemes are 7.90%  while for a scheme like Bestmed it will be 8.40%.
  3. There are more affordable plans within a scheme, with just a slight reduction in benefits, and member can review their benefits
  4. It’s worth checking out network options where you use specific hospitals but still get the same benefits, and at a much lower monthly premium
  5. Have a look at your current benefits against your current state of health because you may be paying premiums for benefits you don’t need

You may have to think again if you were planning to save next year. The cost of living will rise dramatically in 2018. The biggest medical aid schemes in South Africa are jumping on the ‘rising costs’ bandwagon and hiking their fees too, Premiums for Medical Schemes in 2018even though not as much as expected.

Many medical aid members will reel and wonder whether its actually worthwhile holding onto their medical aids.

Why Higher Premiums Should Not Make You Resign from Your Medical Aid

 

  • Just take a look at Discovery Health Medical Scheme – they have announced their increases for 2018. Their Executive- and Smart Plan options will see an increase of 7.3% and their popular KeyCare Plan options by 8,3%.  Take their Classic Executive Plan, for instance. Where you paid R5 544 a month in 2017, in 2018 you’ll be parting with R5 950. With the Classic Smart Plan you’ve been paying R1 535 in 2017 and in 2018 you’ll be paying R1 650.
  • The giant medical scheme tells us that these increases are lower than medical inflation. Inflation over the year to the end of July, was 8.93%. It doesn’t encourage medical aid members when Discovery tells them that these increases will come with some added benefits.
  • Momentum Health, another one of South Africa’s leading medical schemes – in fact the 3rd largest open medical scheme – has also announced that their prices will be hiked by an average of 8.3% next year. They’ve got about 150,000 principal members.
  • Genesis Medical Scheme is the lowest with an increase of 5.8%, while Medshield is the highest at 10.9%.
  • Bonitas has added a number of benefits for their members for 2018. The Principal Officer of Bonitas says that they want to balance costs while ensuring members still receive excellent benefits. They are hiking their fees at an average of 8.7%. For instance in 2017, the principal member  ofthe top plan BonComprehensive pays a premium of R5 254 in 2017. However, next year with a 9.9% increase the principal member will be forking out 5 774. That is roughly R500 more each month.

 

Reeling Increases

Medical aid members are reeling at the increase. And they can take comfort from the fact that the increases for 2018 are the lowest in several years. Benefits in general haven’t been reduced. The limits for instance on out-of-hospital benefits haven’t altered, but are being adjusted with the same percentage as the Consumer Price Index increase.

Is 2018 the year of No Private Medical Aid for You?

Whether the increases on medical aid premiums astound you or pleasantly surprise you, the medical schemes of South Africa are in for a tumultuous time as the government pushes ahead with its National Health Insurance plans.

Many established schemes will be reeling and some will be forced to change. In any case, scheme members are going to be hit hard by the new regulations and as the government wants to use these tax credits to now finance the NHI.
Research has shown that without these medical scheme tax credits, some of the larger, established medical aid schemes will simply become way too expensive for ordinary South Africans.