At least two medical aid schemes have listened to the Council for Medical Schemes’ plea for its members to limit increases to 3.9% in line with CPI after an average increase of 10% for 2020.
This is good news for consumers who are already battling to keep their heads above water during the turbulent economic times brought about by the pandemic. The Council for Medical Scheme (CMS) asked trustees of schemes in a recent circular to consider members’ affordability constraints and freeze their contribution increases for 2021 or limit their increases to 3.9%.
Momentum Medical Scheme has announced a weighted average annual contribution increase of 3.9% for 2021, while Bestmed opted for an increase of 4%.
According to Momentum, it could keep the increase low without reducing benefits thanks to sustained growth with a favourable profile in a stagnant market.
“While we have made provision for the unexpected future pandemic-related costs, we are able to focus more on helping our members retain their medical aid cover during these tough economic conditions,” says Damian McHugh, head of growth and marketing at Momentum Health Solutions.
The administrator for Momentum Medical Scheme, Momentum Health Solutions, allowed members of the scheme to fund their contributions from their HealthSaver accounts, which meant members who had positive balances could retain their medical aid cover, even if they have experienced cash flow shortfalls due to sudden unemployment or illness.
Bestmed’s annual average increase for 2021, at 4%, is the lowest in the history of the scheme and it increased its benefit limits (5%) with more than the contribution increase (4%). For two successive years, Bestmed has had no benefit reductions or benefit cuts either.
According to Bestmed, this could be done because the scheme is financially healthy.
“Since Bestmed understands that consumers are struggling, the scheme decided to, in addition to looking after its members’ physical well-being, assist with their financial well-being,” a spokesperson said.