Big price increases for Bonitas medical aid users in 2020

Medical aid group Bonitas has announced a weighted average increase of 9.9% in monthly contributions for its plans in 2020.

The increases are on par with those announced by Discovery this week, though above the typical annual industry average of CPI+4% (which would be around 8.5%).

Bonitas is the third largest medical aid scheme in South Africa (after Discovery and GEMS), with 330,993 principal members and 710,206 total beneficiaries.

In July, the fund reported its financial results for 2018, announcing bolstered reserves from R4.0 billion in 2017 to R4.13 billion, despite difficult economic conditions.

“This is satisfying, especially given the stagnant economy and other negative fiscal influences. Our strategic initiatives resulted in a positive impact with the Fund attaining a 25.2% solvency rate and achieving a surplus of R164.8 million,” said Lee Callakoppen, principal officer for the fund.

For 2020, the fund said it has introduced new benefits, changed the name of BonFit to BonFit Select and kept increases as low as possible. Increases range between 6.2% and 11.9% across its plans.

“South Africans are under immense financial pressure. This combined with the concerns around the NHI Bill definitely impacts members,” said Callakoppen.

“We’d like to assure everyone it is business as usual at Bonitas and quality, affordable healthcare for our members, remain a priority.”

The individual plan increases are as follows:

  • 6.2% for BonFit Select
  • 8.4% for Primary, Primary Select, BonEssential, BonEssential Select
  • 9.3% for Standard and Standard Select
  • 9.5% for BonSave
  • 11.9% for BonComprehensive, BonClassic, BonComplete, Hospital Standard and BonCap

Official pricing for 2020 is still to be released, but the table below gives an indication based on the announced increases and the previous years’ rates.

Plans Primary member 2019 Primary member 2020 (estimates)
BonCap R1 009 – R2 456 R1 129 – R2 748
BonEssential R1 477 – R1 731 R1 601 – R1 876
Primary R1 904 – R2 240 R2 064 – R2 428
BonFit (Select) R2 027 R2 153
BonSave R2 486 R2 722
Standard R3 080 – R3 556 R3 366 – R3 898
BonComplete R3 581 R4 007
BonClassic R4 470 R5 002
BonComprehensive R6 438 R7 204

The group announced that it will deliver an enhanced Wellness Extender benefit in 2020, which will include, among others, blood tests and x-rays available on all options – except BonCap – without impacting on day-to-day benefits or savings.

“The Wellness Extender can be used across a range of services from GP consultations to physiotherapy and blood tests. The good news is this will be paid from the Wellness Extender first so members can stretch their benefits further,” it said.

“Because completing a wellness screening is a pre-requisite to accessing the extender benefit, we are rolling out screenings to Dischem and Clicks clinics and the greater public, through family days and activations. This will also allow the Fund to identify high-risk beneficiaries early and put them on the path to wellness.”

In terms of value adds, which were introduced in 2017, the group said it is enhancing this offering for members in 2020.

This includes improved access to free discount vouchers, with over 300 retail discounts available to members every month on groceries, travel, fashion and more. Discount partners include: Takealot, Planet Fitness, Checkers, PnP, Spar, Edgars, Dis-Chem, Baby City, Unilever and Tiger Brands.

MedGap has increased its limit to R165,000, introduced a trauma benefit for children under five and a R2,000 payout on confirmation of pregnancy, while offering Bonitas members a 26% discount. A special millennial gap product has also been released.

Sanlam Indie offers members a wide range of life, funeral, disability cover products and an exclusive benefit in the form of free investments up to 100% of monthly contributions, with Bonitas members receiving an additional 10%. In 2020, new Bonitas members will get R150,000 free life cover for 3 months.

And MiWay is offering a 5% discount on household and motor insurance, a free tracking device and emergency transport benefit to Bonitas members.

Summary of key changes for the year:

  • Average on risk contributions is 9.4% with an average increase of 9.9%;
  • The name of BonFit has been changed to BonFit Select to highlight the rich network of providers. The option has also had an increase in medical aid savings to 16%. Members can also access 2 GP consultations when savings are depleted;
  • Savings on BonSave have increased to 20%;
  • Hearing aid cycle restructured to five years;
  • Dental benefit, paid for from risk, on BonSave and BonFit has been restructured to cover consultations and oral hygiene;
  • A 15% increase in day-to-day benefits on Primary and Primary Select. In addition, auxiliary benefits for PMBs will be unlimited in-hospital;
  • Enhanced specialised radiology benefits on BonEssential and BonEssential Select for in and out-of-hospital use;
  • Extended and broadened income bands for BonCap;
  • Enhanced maternity programme;
  • Improved Wellness Extender;
  • A 70% discount for members who join Run/Walk for Life and Eat for Life ;
  • An enhanced multi-insurer platform with exclusive deals and offers for Bonitas members including gap cover and short term insurance;
  • The establishment of the Bonitas Pharmacy network to enhance value for money.

Read: Here are all your Discovery medical aid price hikes for 2020

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Big price increases for Bonitas medical aid users in 2020