Under the current economic climate, having medical aid cover is seen as a luxury.
What was once a perk of the job has been scrapped by some employers as too much of an expense, while others increased employee medical aid contributions, leaving many of us trying to make ends meet.
Some households just can’t do without medical aid, so cancelling your monthly contributions is just not an option.
South Africa’s big three medical aid providers have just released their rates for the new year, and it doesn’t bode well for consumers.
Discovery Health Medical Scheme members will have to fork out approximately 7.5% more in monthly contributions.
While appearing on the Money Web SAFM podcast with Fifi Peters, Dr Ryan Noach, CEO of Discovery Health, explained the logistics behind the high increase.
“Typically medical inflation runs at about three to four percentage points higher than consumer price inflation, and members of the public struggle to understand that, sometimes saying medical scheme and health insurance administrators are doing a poor job of containing costs," said Noach.
When asked if members are downgrading their plans for something more affordable, Noach said "no“.
“Just under 1.5% downgraded their plan – mostly due to affordability – and just over 1.2% upgraded their plan,” he explained.
Bonitas is another provider that released their 2024 product line-up on Wednesday.
The medical aid scheme announced the weighted increase would be 6.9% with the average increase across nine of their plans at 6%.
On news of the instalment hike, Lee Callakoppen, Principal Officer of Bonitas, said: “We appreciate that many of our members and South Africans in general, are faced with increasing financial pressures.
“We have therefore taken great care to balance our benefit enhancements to provide value to our members, while still ensuring that contributions remain affordable.”
Momentum Medical Scheme's weighted average increase for 2024 will be 9.6%, with the company citing claims costs increasing to higher than pre-pandemic levels and inflation.