Price increase and biggest changes to Bonitas medical aid schemes in 2018

The Bonitas Medical Fund group has announced that its medical aid schemes will increase by an average of 8.7% in 2018 – the lowest increase it has instituted in six years, it said.

Price increases will range between 7.9% and 9.9% across various options, Bonitas said.

“Despite increasing healthcare inflation and economic pressures in the past year, robust 
cost-containment initiatives have enabled Bonitas to keep the weighted average contribution in single figures for 2018,” the fund said.

“The increase is the lowest seen from the Fund in recent years – clearly signaling its good financial health. Last year, speculation was rife following Bonitas’ amalgamation with LMS Medical Fund. However, the impact of this has been negligible.”

Money saved through strategic measures allowed Bonitas to emerge in a stronger financial position, despite industry challenges. This resulted in a reduction in the overall net deficit experienced by the fund, reducing it from R205.5 million in 2015, to R16.9 million in 2016.

“It’s been a difficult few years for the healthcare industry, with medical schemes facing several challenges including economic pressures and escalating healthcare costs. In addition, medical schemes have to comply with the strict parameters of the Medical Schemes Act,” it said.

In spite of this, the fund recently announced that its reserves have been bolstered to R3.1 billion and it has also seen a significant growth in membership.

2018 changes

For 2018, Bonitas said it will make a new mental wellness programme available to some beneficiaries on four of its plans. This will provide access to specialised health care. The group noted that mental disordered in South Africa have increased by 22.7%, with 30% of individuals reporting life-long psychiatric disorders, while 33% will be affected by mental illeness int heir lifetime.

The group will also be expanding its screening options for newborn babies, and introducing an unlimited terminal healthcare benefit to all packages.

Other changes include:

  • A separate benefit for contraceptives will be added to all optionsA separate benefit for contraceptives will be added to all options
  • TSH test covered on all options for newborns
  • Pap smears for women over 21 years will be extended to BonEssential and BonCap
  • Mammogram screenings for women over 40, will be extended to BonSave and Primary
  • Bone Density Screenings available on BonClassic and BonComprehensive will now be available to men aged 70 and over
  • Children under 18 will no longer be required to complete the Health Risk Assessment to access the Wellness Extender
  • The family limit for the Wellness Extender will increase by 15% in 2018
  • Out-of-hospital tests and specialist consultations for PMBs paid from risk on Standard, Standard Select and Primary
  • A generous dentistry benefit package paid from risk to be added to BonFit
  • The corneal graft limit BonComprehensive, BonClassic, Standard, Standard Select, BonComplete and BonSave will increase from R22 000 to R30 000
  • In addition, the sublimit for specialised drugs for retinal disorders will increase from R42 000 to R50 000 on BonComprehensive, BonClassic and Hospital Plus
  • An internal prosthesis benefit of R30 000 per family (excluding joint replacement prosthesis) will be introduced to BonSave and Primary

Discovery announced its weighted average price increase this past week, showing a 7.9% increase across all plans, ranging from 7.3% to 8.3%.

Read: How much more you will pay for Discovery medical aid in 2018

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Price increase and biggest changes to Bonitas medical aid schemes in 2018