Bonitas Medical Fund announced this week that its average weighted contribution increase for 2018 will be 8.7%, with increases on its options ranging from 7.9% to 9.9%. 

The weighted increase is 0.8 percentage points above that of Discovery, which announced its increase (7.9%) last week.

Through cost-saving measures and despite industry challenges, Bonitas reduced its overall net deficit from R205.5 million in 2015 to R16.9m in 2016. The scheme recently announced that its reserves have risen to R3.1 billion, and it has seen significant growth in membership. 

Principal officer Gerhard van Emmenis says that last year the scheme amalgamated with LMS Medical Fund. “This will have a favourable impact on our membership as a whole, as a larger scheme is in a better position to negotiate tariffs in favour of members,” he says.

The increases will be accompanied by certain enhanced benefits. “We looked at the needs of our members and South Africa as a whole to introduce several new benefits in 2018. This includes a benefit for contraceptives and a mental health programme.

“Increases are, unfortunately, inevitable given the high healthcare costs and inflation, but we strive to keep premiums affordable and accessible for all. Some benefits have been tweaked, others increased, but all are aimed at helping members to take control of their health and lead better lifestyles, with South African socio-economic factors in mind,” Van Emmenis says.