What will hospital plans in South Africa cost in 2020? Medical schemes recently announced their contribution increases and benefit changes for next year.
Average increases of between 8 and 12 percent will once again take a bigger chunk of your salary. It is also expected that average salary increases for 2020 will most likely to be lower than your medical scheme increase.
In our current economic environment, the high medical scheme increases, year after year, can be a significant financial setback for thousands of people who are trying to juggle their cash-strapped monthly budgets. More and more members of medical schemes are downgrading to more affordable plans, or they cancel their membership altogether.
Consider your healthcare funding options
High-cost plan options with a medical savings account may not necessarily equal better benefits. Ultimately, medical scheme cover is there to provide peace of mind and access to funds for private healthcare, i.e. the “big ticket” costs. It may therefore be wise to make sure you have sufficient risk cover in place and to take care of your day-to-day expenses yourself.
Having a medical scheme managing your savings account (in other words, your own money) is probably one of the most expensive forms of saving. It is your money, but your medical scheme manages it on your behalf. Your scheme will charge you an administration fee, as it will use your savings fund to reimburse your out-of-hospital claims. You therefore “pay more” than what you “get out”, because your monthly contribution includes admin charges and brokerages fees based on your total (risk + savings) contribution.
Choosing a hospital plan
Choosing the right hospital plan can be a complex decision. There are currently 18 open medical schemes available in South Africa, each offering their unique hospital plan benefit options. Medical schemes also market and position their benefit options differently.
Hospital plan benefit options provide cover for treatment when a member is admitted to hospital. Hospital and related accounts, such as theatre costs, X-rays, medication, blood tests, blood transfusion, etc., are usually covered in full, whereas doctors’ and specialists’ fees will be reimbursed at the medical scheme rate.
The GTC Medical Aid Survey (conducted by GTC Healthcare) is quite a handy tool that is used to compare different categories of medical aid benefit options. This survey included both micro (performance of plans based on monthly premiums) and macro (overall health of a medical aid) rating factors of the medical schemes and their benefit options.
Based on the results of the most recently published GTC Medical Aid Survey, the current top 7 open medical scheme hospital plans in South Africa are listed below (in price order of single adult contributions for 2020). The table also lists the cost of two adults + 2 children for 2020.
Source for monthly contributions: Comparemed
Make sure your comprehensive healthcare needs are covered
The GTC survey is described as a “definitive national survey”, however, whilst it is a powerful tool in itself, it is best used as a basis for evaluating and rating different medical aid plans. Anyone choosing a full cover medical aid or hospital plan benefit option should always try and select the benefit option that will provide the best cover considering their healthcare needs along with what they can afford. Whilst the above hospital plans ranked top in the GTC survey, they may be better suited for younger and healthier people who want to have peace of mind knowing they will be covered for the unforeseen hospital admissions. These very affordable hospital plans may not necessarily provide sufficient cover if you require comprehensive healthcare cover.
Please note: The information provided herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to flout or in any other way compromise the conditions prescribed in the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act’s General Code of Conduct insofar as comparing different financial products with each other is concerned. Nothing herein contained is intended to be advice and any uncertainty regarding anything said should be referred to an accredited financial advisor.