The cost of prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs) has long been a running sorer for medical aid schemes. And it has become even more painful since the recent ruling by the registrar of schemes that they must pay these costs in full.

This the schemes regard as giving service providers a blank cheque to charge what they like, regardless of what the medical aid scheme rates might be.

The result for many, if not all, scheme members will be an increase in contribution rates.

The question is: while clearly there is exploitation over PMB costs, are medical scheme payment rates too low? The search for a compromise must continue.