Price hike and big changes for Bonitas medical aid plans in 2019

Medical aid scheme Bonitas is to increase prices across its various plans by a weighted average of 8.9% in 2019 – while also launching two new lower-cost plans.

The group said that the weighted average is on par with the industry corridor of 3% to 4% above CPI, and comes amid a tough economic climate, which included a hike in VAT to 15% in April 2018.

“The past 12 months have been extremely trying, with a number of uncertainties and changes anticipated,” said Bonitas principal officer, Gerhard Van Emmenis.

“In addition, consumers have been heavily impacted by the increase in VAT and escalating prices which resulted from this.”

In July Bonitas reported its financial results for 2017, the best in its 35-year history, with a surplus of R730.20 million, having recouped a deficit of R16.9 million from 2016.

“This turnaround…bolstered our reserves from R3.1 billion to R4 billion which means that we are able to invest back into the scheme and offer our members access to healthcare of the highest quality,” Van Emmenis said.

Bonitas is currently the second biggest private medical aid scheme in the country (730,000 beneficiaries at end December 2017), after Discovery. It is the third largest overall, when taking the government employees medical scheme (GEMS) into account.

The group announced the following changes for 2019:

  • A weighted increase of 8.9%;
  • A new multi-insurer platform with exclusive deals and offers for Bonitas members including gap cover;
  • Two new plans introduced – Primary Select and BonEssential Select. These use dedicated networks and are both are priced around 15% lower than the Primary and BonEssential options respectively;
  • The Hospital Plus plan has been discontinued;
  • Mammograms for women over 40 will be covered once every two years across all the plans;
  • Prostate screening antigen tests for men aged between the aged of 45 and 69 have been included across all plans;
  • Childhood immunisations according to the EPI schedule, are now offered to members on BonClassic, Standard, Standard Select, BonComplete, BonSave, Primary, Primary Select and BonFit – paid from risk;
  • The introduction of the My Family Model which contains a full suite of care – such as maternity consultations, 2D scans, antenatal classes, newborn hearing screening – all paid from risk;
  • The day-to-day benefits on Primary has been increased by 15% for 2019;
  • A family benefits of R31 500 has been introduced on BonEssential for internal prosthesis, it is also included on BonEssential Select;
  • BonClassic has been re-aligned to fit in with other options with radiology and pathology combined into one benefit.

Read: How much more you will pay for your Discovery medical aid in 2019

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Price hike and big changes for Bonitas medical aid plans in 2019