Access to quality healthcare remains a concern for South Africans, and choosing medical aid to suit your needs is essential. With the deadline for medical aid change fast-approaching, time is of the essence.
Gerhard Van Emmenis, Principal Officer of Bonitas Medical Fund, covering around 730 000 lives, says, ‘We aim to make quality healthcare accessible to all South Africans. We understand that consumers are confronted by a number of challenges that make choosing medical aid difficult. We aim to assist with this by simplifying our plans so that they are easy to understand and use.’
Industry increases and value for money
The confusion is heightened by primary health insurance as well as the complexity and rules that govern medical aid. The industry increases for medical aid in 2019 ranged between 2.7% and 14.3%. However, considering these increases in insolation is not an indicator of value for money which consumers are seeking given the current economic climate. This is compounded by healthcare inflation outpacing general inflation by around 4% each year. ‘Over the past 36 years, we have implemented a number of cost-containment initiatives and innovative benefits to ensure that our members get value for money without compromising on quality,’ says Van Emmenis.
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ with medical aid options
Bonitas membership is truly representative of the diverse South African population, with members from all ethnicities spanning a range of industries across the public and private sector. Their range of plans includes traditional medical aid plans, savings plans, hospital plans and an income-based option with competitive prices from R1 009 a month. Each plan is underpinned by simplicity, allowing members to make the most of their benefits.
For 2019 Bonitas introduced two new plans, Primary Select and BonEssential Select which offer comprehensive benefits and contributions discounted by 15%. This was supported by several enhancements to benefits on most plans. ‘Consumers need to be mindful of what their medical aid offers. There is a vast difference between benefits paid from savings and benefits paid from risk – with the latter giving the consumer more value,’ Van Emmenis explains.
Legislation also applies through the Medical Schemes Act 131 of 1998. This includes underwriting in the form of waiting periods and late-joiner penalties. During waiting periods members must pay their full monthly contributions but can only claim for PMBs. ‘In some circumstances schemes may waive waiting periods but terms and conditions may apply to this. We invite consumers to contact us and find out more about this so that we can assist them in making empowered choices. We are one of few independent medical schemes, not linked to a larger financial services provider and seek to act in the best interest of our members at all times,’ Van Emmenis states.