Medshield Medical Scheme said on Thursday that it was geared for the future, having reshaped its value proposition to be even more member centric and unlocking better value in its products.
Thoneshan Naidoo, Principal Officer at Medshield Medical Scheme, announced the Scheme’s 2020 contribution adjustments and product design in Johannesburg today. “We focused our 2020 benefit design around providing greater access to healthcare, unlocking better benefits for members, enabling low and affordable contribution increases and enhancing member value.”
Four new options have been introduced to the Medshield product range to make medical aid more accessible and affordable to millions of South Africans.
“It’s our unwavering belief that every person is entitled to affordable medical cover,” Naidoo said. “However, keeping medical aid affordable demands a spirit of partnership and cooperation between medical schemes, medical scheme members and healthcare providers. We’re in this together, and together we will make healthcare accessible to as many historically excluded people as possible whilst maintaining our services to existing members.”
While healthcare inflation is much higher than general consumer inflation, Medshield has found innovative ways to offer its members value, which includes the introduction of the Prime and Compact networks on its MediPlus and MediValue plans. “Through our Prime and Compact networks our members are empowered within their plans: members can benefit from a 0% increase on our Compact networks by following the healthcare provider networks and rules specifically designed for their access.”
“With affordability at the forefront of our decision making and in the face of the tough economic climate in South Africa, we believe that a 0% increase for members who select the Compact networks will assist in relieving some of the financial pressure on members. In line with prudent financial management and to ensure overall sustainability, the Scheme has applied a 12.5% increase on its more affluent plans. Across all plans, the effective risk contribution increase is 8.5% with a weighted gross contribution increase of 9.9% for 2020.
“It is worth noting that excluding our Compact networks on our MediPlus and MediValue plans (where members can experience a 0% increase in their contributions) the majority of our members will experience an increase of between R111 and R201 per month.”
Medshield has also embraced innovation in its plan design to unlock better benefits for its members. Medshield was the first scheme in South Africa to offer SmartCare (nurse-led primary healthcare and video doctor consultations from enabled pharmacies and clinics) as a benefit. Medshield SmartCare embraces the fourth industrial technological revolution by providing convenient and increased access to quality private healthcare seven days a week, with video-med doctors who speak 10 different languages.
“Our members love the Medshield SmartCare value proposition and going into 2020 we are enabling unlimited SmartCare nurse consultations across all our plans.”
Markets and consumers have changed profoundly, Naidoo said. The advent and growth of digital connectivity is creating a market that’s better informed than consumers of only a few years ago. “We now have more critical consumers of medical care, and of medical aids. The broader sector -- including medical schemes -- must innovate and adapt to cater to these consumers. It’s a matter of balance: maintaining the entrenched product offerings, but being nimble in responding to emerging market trends, market demands, macro-economic realities and policy changes.”
So, in 2020, Medshield is launching MediCurve - A digital plan designed around a mobile app (which markets Medshield’s healthcare provider network and enables members to locate a network provider).
Medshield is creating a platform where all South Africans have access to quality healthcare, and pending regulatory approval from the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), it is looking to launch its MediAlpha plan - a series of Low Cost Benefit Options starting at a price point of R130 per month, that will enable access to private primary healthcare to millions of uncovered South Africans who have not been able to afford medical cover. “Good health is not just for the affluent and those who can afford it. Everyone deserves this privilege,” Naidoo explained, adding that the organisation is committed to being part of the medical journey of all South Africans.
“We recognise that our sector is dealing with a changing policy environment. Medshield recognises, too, that there is inequity in healthcare in South Africa. This inequity exists along the entire healthcare value chain. Our members have always been, and will always be, at the heart of all we do at Medshield and at the heart of every decision we make. Medshield looks forward to the future. We are determined to be part of giving the nation access to quality healthcare,” Naidoo said.