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.
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||R7 257||R7 257||–|
|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||–|
|Classic Priority||R3 814||R3 814||–|
|Essential Priority||R3 278||R3 278||–|
|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||–|
|Classic Smart||R1 954||R1 954||–|
|Essential Smart||R1 400||R1 400||–|
|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 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||–|
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.
|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 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.
|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%|