South Africans rank the best and worst medical aid schemes

The latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for medical aids in the country shows which groups have been the most successful in keeping their customers happy in 2016.

A sample of 2,105 private medical aid policyholders in South Africa gave the health insurance industry a satisfaction score of 74.2 out of 100 in the latest index, which is virtually unchanged since the last measure in 2015.

The six companies included in the Medical Aids survey include Bonitas, Discovery Health, Liberty Health, Medihelp, Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) and Momentum Health based on their market share.

The industry saw a change in the leading brand for the first time in three years, with Liberty moving from a below par performance in 2014 to being named as industry leader this year.

Liberty has made remarkable progress and scored an industry-leading 76.9 out of 100. Momentum Health, Bonitas and Discovery Health scored on par with industry at 75.6, 75.2 and 74.1 out of 100 respectively.

Medihelp and GEMS, however, scored below par at 70.7 and 67.5 respectively. In the case of GEMS, the seven point decline in its score since 2014 is really concerning, SAcsi said.

# Medical Aid 2015 Score 2016 Score
1 Liberty Health 71.1 76.9
2 Momentum Health 69.6 75.6
3 Bonitas 75.9 75.2
Industry Average 74.1 74.2
4 Discovery 74.1 74.1
5 Medihelp 73.4 70.7
6 GEMS 74.3 67.5

The overall satisfaction score is in line with other insurance products released in the past two months, which indicated slightly higher satisfaction with short term and life insurance brands in South Africa, SAcsi said.

SAcsi looked at satisfaction with the three types of medical plans: comprehensive, network schemes and hospital plans.

This showed that customers on comprehensive plans were more satisfied (76.1) than those on hospital plans (72.2) or network options (70.3).

Customers who have experienced rejected claims report dramatically lower overall satisfaction levels of 63.3.

Prof Adrè Schreuder, CEO of Consulta and founder of SAcsi, said that that overall perceived values are low.

“Private healthcare in South Africa is becoming a grudge purchase, so these companies should be looking to actively improve the perceived value scores,” he said.

“It is particularly evident that the economy and customer perception of a lack of value had an effect as the industry’s perceived value score declined by 1.3 index points since 2014.”

Only two brands showed increased value in the year-on-year comparison – Liberty and Momentum Health, the group said.

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South Africans rank the best and worst medical aid schemes