Bonitas announces price hikes and new benefits for 2023

 ·28 Sep 2022

Medical aid Bonitas says it will freeze contribution prices for the first three months of 2023, following announcements from Discovery and Momentum that price increases will be deferred to April next year.

From 1 April, contributions will increase by between 2.0% and 9.4%, depending on the plan, averaging 5.9% across all plans.

“This effectively means an increase of 4.8% over the 12 months,” it said, adding that there will be no price increase for the BonStart plan.

The guidelines, set out by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) in Circular 44 of 2022, requested medical schemes to keep contribution increases for 2023 below CPI. However, over the past decade, medical scheme contribution increases have outpaced inflation by around 4%, Bonitas said.

With inflation at 7.6% in August, Bonitas said it has managed to keep its average increases well below this rate.

Medical aids have, historically, increased contributions by a rate of CPI+3% to 4%. Discovery said its increases for 2023 – also taking effect in April – will likely follow this pattern.

The price changes that take effect from 1 April 2023 are:

Bonitas is the second largest open medical aid scheme in South Africa after Discovery, with over 330,000 members and 710,000 beneficiaries.

The group said that remains in a financially sound position with over R7.4 billion in reserves and has signed up 190,000 new members over the last 36 months who fit a younger, healthier profile – which is

“The future of healthcare is anchored on primary and preventative care as well as sustaining well-being, as opposed to responding to illness. One of the key healthcare trends is the rise in non-communicable or lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer,” it said.

Bonitas said that 80% of these conditions are caused by lifestyle risk factors, which is why it is extending its preventative care measures.

In addition to the price freeze, the medical scheme announced several other changes to its plans for next year, boosting cancer care, and diabetes benefits and offering better mental healthcare options.

The new features for 2023 include:

  • Cancer care: In 2021, the group partnered with the South African Oncology Consortium to offer screening for early detection, treatment and palliative care. For 2023 the benefits have been restructured to be unlimited for PMB cancers, on all options.
  • Diabetes: the group will introduce a benefit of R51,000 per family per year for an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor for type 1 diabetics over 18 years.
  • Mental health: Bonitas will introduce a digital service called Panda to support members with mental wellness. Panda is a free-to-download app that offers everything from audio sessions with peers and mental health experts to one-on-one virtual consultations with mental health professionals. Panda will be available from October 2022.
  • Designated Service Providers: Bonitas has restructured its designated service provider options to include a wider hospital network component. In 2023, 85% of members will be within a 30km radius of a network hospital – with a presence across all nine provinces in line with the footprint of our member base.
  • Hospital-at-home: The technology-enabled Hospital-at-Home service will be extended to include a programme for re-admissions, screening and disease prevention, alternatives to step-down facilities and kidney dialysis at home.
  • Savings: Rules have been amended to allow members to use their savings as they deem fit for the new year. This allows members to use their savings for co-payments and avoid out-of-pocket expenses on certain plans. The group said it has also increased savings by up to 9.4% – depending on the plan selected. Day-to-day benefits have been restructured and increased on the traditional plans as well.

“As South Africans face increased challenges around inflation, fuel and electricity hikes, we remain committed to providing quality healthcare at affordable prices while ensuring the sustainability of the scheme,” the group said.

Read: Discovery announces price change for 2023 – and new benefits

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