Presented by Bonitas

The Bonitas 40th birthday story

 ·1 Jul 2022

How it began

For four decades, Bonitas Medical Fund has been providing affordable, quality healthcare to South Africans. Bonitas was launched in 1982 as a Medical Scheme for black civil servants and started with only 27 members, monthly contributions ranged from R1.60 to R9.60 per principal member!

The Scheme continued to grow its membership base – predominantly teachers, nurses and civil servants.

Growing up

In 1995, Bonitas became an open medical scheme, opening its doors to South Africans from all walks of life, growing to become the second largest medical scheme in the country

Lee Callakoppen, Principal Officer of Bonitas says, ‘40 years on, we are proud to have over

700 000 beneficiaries as part of the Fund.’ The Scheme is committed to transformation of the healthcare industry and is in excellent financial health with over R6 billion in reserves.

Over the four decades, Bonitas has evolved and expanded its capabilities in response to the changing healthcare needs of it growing membership base.

The Fund has enjoyed several successes, concluding a host of amalgamations:  Protector Health, BHP Billiton, Pro Sano, LMS Medical Fund and, most recently, Nedbank Medical Aid Scheme.

The core business

“Our mantra is: ‘The Medical Aid for South Africa’ and this underpins all we do, including finding innovative solutions to help reduce the cost of private healthcare, without compromising on quality.”

“We put our members first when we negotiate rates and source reputable service providers. We do not believe in one-size-fits-all and adjust our wide range of benefit options annually, while keeping plans simple and user-friendly.”

How we do this

Bonitas offers a total of 15 plans comprised of traditional, savings, hospital, edge (virtual), network and income-based plans. Each is simple and easy to understand, with a specific mix of benefits to appeal to various target markets.

The Managed Care programmes include cover for chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, back and neck problems and mental health.

This allows members to derive real value for money and stretch their benefits as far as possible.

‘Our team of experts is always looking for innovative ways to ensure our members enjoy affordable, quality healthcare,’ stresses Callalkoppen.

‘Whether it’s keeping our fingers on the pulse of technology, managing our members care, identifying lifestyle diseases before they become chronic or negotiating preferred rates for our members.’

Our members

Members are from all walks of life – they are go-getting entrepreneurs, SMMEs, chief executive officers, newlyweds, young couples with children, retirees and minimum wage earners – South Africans who need peace of mind when it comes to healthcare.


Bonitas has won some of the industry’s most prestigious awards including the ‘Ask Afrika Orange Index Award for Service Excellence in 2020/21’ and the BHF Titanium Award for ‘Operational Performance’ this year.

Looking ahead

‘The future of healthcare will revolve around preventative care and sustaining well-being, as opposed to responding to illness,’ says Callakoppen.

‘It will see the healthcare industry being more agile, adapting to the ever-changing needs of all role players, through to the procurement of equipment, medicine supply management, use of day surgeries and acute hospitals as well as alternative reimbursement models.

‘Bonitas’ priority remains making quality healthcare more accessible more affordable, while ensuring financial sustainability and longevity of the Scheme.’

Click here to learn more about Bonitas

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