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Medical aid members pay big bills

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SOUTH African members of medical schemes spent at least R17 billion — conservatively counted — out of their own pockets last year to cover their medical expenses, an increase of 55% over the past five years.

They withdrew another R18 billion from medical savings, for a combined R35 billion not paid directly by their medical aids, according to data released by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS).

The CMS calculates out-of-pocket spending as the difference between the claims submitted by members of medical schemes and the amounts paid on those claims. It believes that makes for an indication that can be used to track trends, but not a number that can be trusted as such.

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