Medihelp Medical Scheme, one of the five largest open medical schemes in South Africa which manages its own administration, was the first in the medical schemes industry to hold a virtual annual general meeting (AGM) on Thursday, 18 June 2020. This was a novel approach successfully providing its stakeholders nationwide the opportunity to participate remotely in the AGM event for the first time in the Scheme’s history of 115 years.
The initiative to hold a virtual AGM was undertaken in light of the restrictions in place regarding gatherings and public meetings in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, and rather than postponing the meeting, Medihelp obtained approval for the digital hosting of the AGM from the Council for Medical Schemes. This was seen as the ideal opportunity to enable members to actively participate in AGM proceedings.
Members and guests who participated were able to watch a video or listen to a podcast of the AGM, and they could interact regarding Scheme issues as well as download relevant documentation in a secure environment.
The success of the meeting demonstrates Medihelp’s commitment to give members the opportunity to let their voice be heard and engage with the Scheme despite challenging times. Consistent interactive engagement and service delivery remain of the utmost importance to the Scheme, to ensure that members remain informed and enabled while receiving quality service and support at all times.
As part of the AGM proceedings, Medihelp announced sound financial results for the year ended 31 December 2019 and reported that it was one of only a few schemes to achieve net growth for the third year running. Medihelp welcomed 14 876 new members with a consistently favourable profile in 2019, and maintained its average member age of 37 years for the fifth consecutive year, while the number of dependants increased from 1,17 to 1,18 per member – all factors which favourably influenced its risk profile.
Despite the negative effect of a deteriorating economy, the Scheme concluded the 2019 financial year with a net surplus of R55,4 million and a further decrease in non-healthcare costs to 8,7%, which ranks amongst the lowest in the industry. The Scheme’s claims-paying ability maintained its consistent AA minus rating by Global Credit Rating, and its healthy solvency ratio of 27,68% was well above the regulatory requisite 25%.
These solid financial results are reassuring to Scheme members in times when little else offers peace of mind.