File image: A doctor dressed in a light blue overall with a stethoscope hanging around his neck, writes in his notebook. IOL.

CAPE TOWN - Healthcare plans have been unaffected by tax hikes in the latest budget speech. 

Most South Africans will be more relieved to know that affordable medical aid schemes and hospital plans do exist. Take a look at SA’s cheapest medical aid plans, according to a report on Business Tech. 

Personal Finance has also reported in December last year that the South African healthcare industry has been difficulty these past few years, with medical schemes facing escalating healthcare costs. 

A study released this week by Alexander Forbes found that medical inflation (medical care and health expenses inflation) will be about 2% to 3% higher than Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation over the long term.  

CPI inflation has averaged 5.8% a year over the past 17 years, while medical inflation has averaged 7.6%, resulting in an average gap of 1.8% a year.

Roshan Bhana, the head actuary of technical and actuarial consulting solutions at Alexander Forbes Health, says the average contribution increases for the top nine open medical schemes have been well above CPI since 2007.

“Increases announced for 2017 were higher than in prior years because of a significant increase in the use of in-hospital benefits reported by many schemes.

“However, the contribution increases for 2018 are lower, in part because of lower CPI inflation in 2017,” Bhana says.

Alexander Forbes says medical inflation has been higher than CPI for the following reasons:

• High increases in the fees charged by healthcare service providers.

• The rising burden of disease. (A disease burden is the impact of a health problem as measured by financial cost, mortality, morbidity, or other indicators.)

• The increase in hospital admission rates.

• Medical scheme members making greater use of benefits.

• The development of new medical technologies.

• The statutory requirement that schemes maintain reserves of at least 25% of their gross contribution income.

• Medical schemes enhancing their benefits.

READ ALSO: Healthcare industry and consumers battle rocketing medical costs

According to Business Tech, the current medical aid tax credits are only safe for now but this may change in the long run. 

This comes after government is eyeing National Health Insurance plans and is looking for ways to finance them. 

Business Tech provides the cheapest and most expensive medical aid schemes, using data from Informed Healthcare Solutions (IHS) medical aid data portal. 

List of cheapest medical aid plans across 5 categories: hospital plans, hospital plans with savings, day-to-day cover, GP networks plans, and comprehensive coverage.

Hospital plans

Plan                                                  Cost for principle member

Discovery KeyCare Core                  R792 – R1 525

Discovery Essential Smart                  R1 180

Momentum Custom Option 1                  R1 366

Discovery Essential Delta Core               R1 417

FedHealth EntryZone                         R1 424

Bonitas BonEssential                         R1 604

Discovery Coastal Core                         R1 610

Discovery Classic Smart                         R1 647

Resolution Health Hospital Plan             R1 720

MediHelp Dimension Prime 1                 R1 728

Discovery Essential Core                 R1 773

Momentum Custom Option 2                 R1 885

FedHealth Maxima Core                         R2 082

Discovery Classic Core                         R2 064

Hospital Plan with Savings

These plans are the same as the above, but provide members with a limited savings account for day-to-day use.

Plan                                                    Cost for principle member

MediHelp Unify                                    R2 088

Discovery Coastal Saver                            R2 160

Discovery Essential Saver                    R2 203

Discovery Delta Saver                           R2 214

MedHelp Dimension Prime 2                   R2 310

Bonitas BonSave                                   R2 304

Discovery Classic Saver                           R2 773

MediShield MediSaver                           R2 850

FedHealth Maxima Standard                   R3 310

Momentum Extender Option 1                  R4 129

Resolution Health Millenium                   R4 660

Momentum Extender Option 2                  R5 113

Hospital Plans with Day to Day Cover

These plans are the same as the above, but come with annual limits for day-to-day use, which fall away and are renewed at the end of each year.

Plan                                                    Cost for principle member

MediShield MediValue                            R1 680

Momentum Incentive Option 1                   R1 834

Bonitas Primary                                    R2 076

FedHealth Maxima Saver                    R2 259

Resolution Health Progressive Flex           R2 365

FedHealth Maxima Basis                    R2 722

Momentum Incentive Option 2            R2 737

MediShield MediPlus                            R2 817

MediHelp Dimension Prime 3             R2 940

Bonitas Standard                                    R3 265

GP Network Plan

These plans are designed for younger members entering the market for the first time. 

Plan                                                      Cost for principle member

Momentum Ingwe                                       R759 – R1 903

Discovery KeyCare Access                       R697 – R2 018

Discovery KeyCare Plus                               R990 – R2 064

MediHelp Necesse                                       R474 – R2 076

Comprehensive Medical Aid

These are the top-tier schemes that typically have unlimited hospital cover, and comprehensive day-to-day benefits.

Plan                                                         Cost for principle member

Discovery Classic Priority                          R3 214

FedHealth Maxima Standard                          R3 310

Discovery Essential Comprehensive               R4 102

MediHelp Dimension Elite                         R4 272

Discovery Classic Delta Comprehensive        R4 398

FedHealth Maxima Exec                                 R4 805

Discovery Classic Comprehensive                 R4 882

Bonitas Bon Comprehensive                         R5 774

Discovery Executive                                 R5 950

ALSO READ: Time to review your medical scheme cover

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