How much you will be paying for medical aid in 2021: Discovery vs Bonitas vs Momentum

South Africa’s three biggest open medical schemes have published their full pricing for plans in 2021, reflecting the industry’s call to freeze prices or keep increases capped at low rates due to wider economic troubles.

In a year where consumers faced unprecedented financial pressure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, medical aid members will be relieved to see their plan costs remain around the same levels as 2020.

The country’s biggest scheme by membership, Discovery Health, has opted to freeze prices until halfway through 2021 when a viable vaccine for Covid-19 is expected to be available.

The second and third largest schemes – Bonitas and Momentum Health, respectively – will implement increases significantly lower than the industry standard of CPI+4%.

Of the big three, however, only Discovery and Momentum have heeded the call of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) earlier this year for companies to implement a freeze where possible. If not possible, the CMS recommended that increases be capped at 3.9%, in line with inflation.

Discovery managed a freeze, in line with the CMS recommendation, while Momentum managed to keep most – not all – increases capped at 3.9%.

Bonitas, meanwhile, managed to freeze fees on one plan, with the rest seeing increases between 4% and 7%, with a weighted average increase of 4.6%.

The CMS said that despite the cost savings accrued to most schemes due to a noticeable decrease in utilisation during lockdown, there was a risk that the savings might be wiped out due to the Covid-19 peak in the country as well as because of pent-up demand.

“Accordingly, certain schemes may need to increase their contribution to mitigate against the risk of high-cost claims and subsequent reserves erosion,” it said.

“In cases where schemes are unable to freeze their contribution increase for 2021, the CMS recommends that schemes should limit their increases to 3.9% in line with CPI.”

“It is the CMS’ view that above inflationary contribution increases, are simply above the budget line for most consumers and are therefore unaffordable for the majority of members of medical schemes.

“Similarly, notwithstanding the unique industry-specific cost-push factors such as the impact of the weaker rand exchange rate, the burden of diseases etc., it remains the position of the CMS that the increase in hospital fees and therapeutic appliances should also be limited to 3.9% in line with inflation,” it said.


Discovery

Following the CMS’s recommendations, Discovery has opted to freeze its plan prices for the first six months of 2021, with increases only expected thereafter. The group said price increases for the second half of the year will be capped at CPI+2%.

This means that prices – for now – will be the same as they were in 2020:

Executive

Plan 2020 2021 % change
Executive Plan R7 257 R7 257

Comprehensive

Plan 2020 2021 % change
Classic Comprehensive R5 954 R5 954
Classic Delta Comprehensive R5 362 R5 362
Essential Comprehensive R5 003 R5 003
Essential Delta Comprehensive R4 507 R4 507
Classic Smart Comprehensive R4 327 R4 327

Priority

Plan 2020 2021 % change
Classic Priority R3 814 R3 814
Essential Priority R3 278 R3 278

Saver

Plan 2020 2021 % change
Classic Saver R3 290 R3 290
Classic Delta Saver R2 628 R2 628
Essential Saver R2 615 R2 615
Essential Delta Saver R2 085 R2 085
Coastal Saver R2 608 R2 608

Smart

Plan 2020 2021 % change
Classic Smart R1 954 R1 954
Essential Smart R1 400 R1 400

Core

Plan 2020 2021 % change
Classic Core R2 449 R2 449
Classic Delta Core R1 960 R1 960
Essential Core R2 104 R2 104
Essential Delta Core R1 681 R1 681
Coastal Core R1 946 R1 946

KeyCare

Plan 2020 2021 % change
KeyCare Plus 0 – 8 550 R1 207 R1 207
KeyCare Plus 8 551 – 13 800 R1 659 R1 659
KeyCare Plus 13 801+ R2 450 R2 450
KeyCare Core 0 – 8 550 R949 R949
KeyCare Core 8 551 – 13 800 R1 183 R1 183
KeyCare Core 13 801+ R1 809 R1 809
KeyCare Start 0 – 9 150 R914 R914
KeyCare Start 9 151 – 13 800 R1 538 R1 538
KeyCare Start 13 801+ R2 394 R2 394

Bonitas

South Africa’s second-largest open medical aid scheme, Bonitas, announced a weighted increase of 4.6% across all its plans for 2021 – ranging between 0% and 7%.

The only plan to see a fee freeze is the BonFit Select plan, while the more comprehensive plans see the largest increases.

The group has also introduced two new plans for 2021.  The plans: BonStart and BonStart Plus, are designed for economically active singles or couples, living in the larger metros.

Plan 2020 2021 % change
BonComprehensive R7 207 R7 715 7.0%
BonClassic R5 003 R5 330 6.5%
BonComplete R4 009 R4 291 7.0%
BonSave R2 723 R2 847 4.6%
BonFit Select R2 152 R2 152
Standard R3 888 R4 044 4.0%
Standard Select R3 368 R3 589 6.6%
Primary R2 429 R2 537 4.4%
Primary Select R2 065 R2 180 5.6%
Hospital Standard R2 284 R2 434 6.6%
BonEssential R1 877 R1 962 4.5%
BonEssential Select R1 602 R1 675 4.6%
BonCap 0-8520 R1 159 R1 212 4.6%
BonCap 8521-13840 R1 372 R1 434 4.5%
BonCap 13841-18900 R2 210 R2 311 4.6%
BonCap 18901+ R2 714 R2 837 4.5%
NEW BonStart R1 452
NEW BonStart Plus R1 731

Momentum

Momentum Medical Scheme is the third-largest open medical aid scheme in South Africa and announced a weighted average annual contribution increase of 3.9% for 2021.

The figures below are the starting prices, with more variety offered in each plan grouping.

Plan 2020 2021 % change
Evolve R1 294 R1 345 3.9%
Custom R1 642 R1 706 3.9%
Incentive R2 141 R2 224 3.9%
Extender R5 033 R5 231 3.9%
Summit R10 187 R10 642 4.5%
Ingwe R432 R455 5.3%

Read: Best and worst major medical aids in South Africa

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How much you will be paying for medical aid in 2021: Discovery vs Bonitas vs Momentum