PRETORIA – 30 September 2021 – Medihelp Medical Aid announced a price reduction of on average 5,57% on four of its options and an average increase of 2,74% on the rest its plans for 2022, resulting in a weighted average contribution decrease of 0,45%, while the value of available benefit amounts on all options has been increased by on average 4,2%, which is more than the price adjustment. The Scheme also introduced two new plans for 2022, thereby addressing the growing need for more affordable alternatives that enable consumers to retain medical scheme membership midst economic pressure.
“Medihelp has priced the 2022 products to ensure that members have continuous healthcare cover, recognising the financial strain being experienced by all,” says Ettie da Silva, Principal Officer of Medihelp.
“Similar to the industry, the Scheme has also experienced an increase in solvency over the past two years and should conclude 2021 with a solvency ratio of above 43%. Given Medihelp’s financial stability and having provided for amongst others, a fourth and potentially fifth COVID-19 wave, tariff increases, additional booster vaccinations, ageing, increased utilisation and previously postponed elective surgeries, we took the calculated and strategic decision to reinvest some of the reserves to effect price reductions and low contribution increases. Our intent is to alleviate pressure on members, but also to increase our product range’s competitiveness to become the solid alternative for people who consider price as the determining factor in choice of plan.”
COVID-19 and the resulting decrease in utilisation of medical benefits, as well as a struggling economy, has led consumers to question the value versus price paid for medical cover, especially in terms of higher-end medical aid options. It was affirmed by the results of recent customer satisfaction research, the SA-csi released by Consulta, which provided scientific insights into the overall satisfaction of members of South Africa’s largest open medical schemes. The survey showed that consumer price tolerance is at an ultimate low point, with overall customer satisfaction among medical aid members experiencing a sharp decline. This is largely due to the fact that consumers may of necessity be buying down to lower-cost options, while not decreasing their expectations of the benefits on offer in equal measure.
The research highlighted Medihelp as one of the schemes that also experienced a drop in perceived value. It was thus prudent for Medihelp to adapt accordingly and ensure that we priced our existing products and developed new products to address our members’ changing needs.
A new plan, MedMove!, has been created to welcome first-time entrants to the market, with contributions starting at R1 452 per month. The plan is designed to allow more individuals access to private healthcare. Medihelp’s Necesse option has been replaced with MedElect, which offers a cost-effective, comprehensive network plan ideal for students, families and corporate groups seeking an inclusive healthcare solution for their employees.
Added value for members
In 2021, the Scheme increased the total value of preventive and added insured benefits and introduced a rich basket of care across all options in addition to members’ insured day-to-day cover. In 2022, members will activate an additional care extender benefit by using certain health tests, incentivising them to look after their health while significantly stretching their daily benefits.
Da Silva says Medihelp’s approach to the 2022 contribution adjustments will not place Medihelp or its reserves under unforeseen pressure. Projections indicate that Medihelp will remain stable regardless, also thanks to the health innovation taking shape at the Scheme.
“Medihelp prides itself in being experienced enough to trust, yet small enough to not lose sight of what the real barometer of success should be. We are committed to be defined by our attentiveness to stakeholders’ needs and our unique value offering. We are confident that with a repositioned product range, our new service and healthcare focus, as well as the support of advisers, we are building a sustainable healthcare solution for generations to come.”