Salaries not keeping up with medical aid increases

Medical aid increases have not been keeping pace with salary raises, according to the eights GTC Medical Aid Survey.

The financial services company, formerly Grant Thornton Capital, publishes the annual survey to assist its own consultants, financial planners and medical aid members to decide on the best plan to suit their pocket and needs.

"The effect of these increases will continue to place pressure on members to downgrade plans or cancel their medical aid cover altogether, in search of an alternate medical insurance to cater for their most pressing needs," warns GTC Healthcare broker Jill Larkan.

Larkan also said the National Health Insurance (NHI) and amendments to the Medical Schemes Bill were "inevitable". In South Africa there are 8 million medical aid members, while 45 million people not covered by any form of private health insurance.

"Government intervention is urgently required. It is, however, equally important to not break that which is already working. As with many other pressing South African socio-political issues, cool heads, calm nerves and commercial logic need to prevail," Larkan argued.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who released the two bills in June, has slammed medical aids for keeping higher than required reserves, and using brokers to sell medical aid plans. He plans to scrap co-payments for medical aid members.

Choosing the best medical scheme

GTC surveyed 22 medical schemes, including one closed scheme, Profmed, which requires members to have a multiple-year degree.

According to the research undertaken by Larkan, the cheapest medical aid for low-income earners is CompCare Networx.

For people looking for more "comprehensive" medical cover, Fedhealth Maxima plans are the most cost-effective.

The survey also examined the "macro" impact of medical schemes and their sustainability. Larger companies come out tops here due to the size of their customer base, and Discovery Health, with 1.29 million members or 54% of all medical aid members, as of December 2016, was the best performer in this category. 

The combination survey results consider a medical aid’s long-term sustainability together with its costs and value for money.

In this category, CompCare Networx, Fedhealth Blue Door Plus, Discovery Keycare plus and Bonitas BonCap all performed well.

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