Sanlam today launched Sanlam Health Solutions, which aims to fill a gap in the healthcare market for affordable and flexible solutions that offer a low-cost alternative to traditional medical scheme cover. It will also deepen its existing partnerships with medical schemes Bonitas and Fedhealth.
Medical scheme penetration is low in South Africa. Only 8.9 million South Africans (15.2% of the population) are members of medical schemes, either directly or as beneficiaries.
Paul Hanratty, chief executive of the Sanlam Group, says the need for affordable private healthcare was laid bare during the Covid-19 crisis.
“Unfortunately, many South Africans have found themselves unable to afford the prohibitively high costs of most medical schemes. At Sanlam we believe our clients’ health is vital to their ability to live with confidence and resiliently build wealth. With this in mind, we have made the decision to significantly upweight our health focus.”
Hanratty says the new division will offer South African employers and consumers options which many of the existing players in the market don’t. “Our range of solutions will allow South African employers and consumers to select the solution that best meets their health needs and financial situation. We also intend to be a catalyst for innovation in the space, which will help drive down the cost of health care.”
New products to be rolled out in the coming months include a low-cost primary health insurance plan called Sanlam Primary Care as well as Sanlam Gap, Sanlam Primary Care Clinics, Sanlam Occupational Health Services, Sanlam Employee Assistance Programme and Sanlam Executive Care.
Jurie Strydom, chief executive of life and savings at Sanlam, says its two medical scheme partners are innovative, flexible and affordable, and their brands and client offerings are aligned with Sanlam’s own. “Both Bonitas and Fedhealth are administered by Medscheme and are in the top six schemes in South Africa. We will give our clients the flexibility to move between medical scheme options.”
Strydom says the offering will help corporates offer their employees multiple medical schemes instead of just one. “We’ll achieve this by integrating Sanlam products into the two open medical schemes. Packaging life insurance, gap and medical scheme options to address all of the costs associated with critical illness, rather than the current market structure where these solutions are purchased in isolation of each other, will allow us to offer a more affordable and cost-effective corporate offering and more choice to employers and employees.”