Whilst the 2017 annual contribution increases of medical schemes and the funding of private healthcare in South Africa have been highly contentious issues over the past few weeks, Genesis Medical Scheme has announced what is likely to be the lowest contribution increase of all open medical schemes.
According to industry reports, some medical schemes in South Africa have been negatively affected by a notable increase in utilisation over the past 12 months. According to Insight Actuaries joint CEO Christoff Raath, members may have to fork out increases almost twice the consumer price index (CPI) projections for 2017. While the Reserve Bank projects the CPI in the region of 6.2% in 2017, medical scheme increases in general are expected to average between 10% and 20%.
The announcement by Genesis of an average contribution increase of only 4.7% (*) for 2017, once again leads the way amongst open medical schemes with a low average increase. The ability to offer such a low increase in contributions, coupled with benefit enhancements and not reductions as is the case with some other medical schemes, is a result of the benefits of self-administration, prudent risk management, positive financial and operational performance and healthy membership growth.
Depending on which benefit option Genesis members are on, the rand value of the 2017 contribution increases are only between R50 and R100 per adult per month. According to Dennis van der Merwe, the Principal Officer of the Scheme, it is important that members of medical schemes assess the actual rand value of their 2017 increases and not just values expressed as percentages. “We pay our bills with money; not percentages. To demonstrate this with a practical example, a 4.7% increase on a hospital plan from one medical scheme (“Scheme A”) may cost a family of four (two adults, two children) an additional R116 per month in 2017, while the same 4.7% increase may cost R218 per month more on a similar hospital plan from another medical scheme (“Scheme B”). Likewise, a 10% increase on the same hospital plan would cost the family an additional R247 per month more on Scheme A, but a staggering R463 per month more on Scheme B,” says Van der Merwe.
Genesis was registered in 1995. As one of the leading medical schemes in South Africa, Genesis has a proud heritage of providing its members with exceptional healthcare funding benefits for what may be described as mainly catastrophic events, such as big accidents, illness or disease, at very affordable rates.
In the recent 2016 GTC Healthcare Consulting Medical Aid Survey, Genesis’ Private Choice hospital plan was rated as the best value-for-money hospital plan in South Africa in the open medical scheme market. The comparison included 21 equivalent hospital plan benefit options from open schemes in the “Core – No Network” category for hospital plans, where members have freedom of choice in their selection of private hospitals and doctors or specialists.
“To keep contributions as affordable as possible, we leave the day-to-day out of hospital expenses for members to cover, while we take care of the expensive procedures”, says Van der Merwe.
“In a largely ‘one-size-fits-all’ market, Genesis does not follow the general trend of trying to be everything to everybody, but rather to provide the best possible, no-frills, easy-to-understand benefits to a niche market in South Africa, with client centeredness and service remaining the key differentiators,” concludes Van der Merwe.
(*) Based on adult contributions. The increase range between R50 and R100 per month for adults.