Medical schemes in the country are in the process of announcing their annual contribution increases for 2018 as well as changes to the various benefit options.
This comes with a once-a-year opportunity for scheme members to change their benefit plan. These increases are largely in line wkith medical inflation, which is generally 2% to 4% higher than CPI.
Acting CEO of Bestmed, Pieter van Zyl says “We have seen that the average Consumer Price Index (CPI) has been at an unwavering rate of 5.93% over the last 12 months.
The Council for Medical Schemes uses the CPI as a benchmark for premium increases, therefore medical schemes trustees are obliged to justify increases exceeding CPI plus 3%.”
The average increases are actually remarkably low given the challenges the medical schemes industry faces. “Costs do not shrink and the schemes are aging every year, with annual claims on the rise.
So seeing percentage increases quite far below 10% is amazing, but great for the fund member,” says Deon Heydenrych of Stapleford Insurance Brokers.
According to Karin Andrea, Chief Executive: Group Solutions at Optivest Health Services, it’s often that members are still on the same option they joined on years ago.
“Usually there is a more cost-efficient plan within their scheme, with a slight or no reduction in benefits. Members should really make use of this opportunity to review their benefits,” Andrea said.