Despite health insurance often being considered a grudge purchase, private medical aid policyholders in South Africa gave the health insurance industry a satisfaction score of 73 out of 100.
According to the South African customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi), this score indicates adequate levels of satisfaction when compared to the scores of similar industries such as life insurance (76) and short-term insurance (76).
The companies included in SAcsi’s private medical aid survey were Bonitas, Discovery Health, Liberty Health, Medihelp and Momentum Health based on their market share.
Bonitas is South Africa’s health insurance industry leader scoring 2.7% above the industry’s average customer satisfaction score. Discovery Health, Liberty Health, and Momentum Health all scored on par with the industry average, and Medihelp scored slightly below (-2.7%).
“The SAcsi model shows there is little differentiation between the company scores. However, the fact that Bonitas exceeded their policyholders’ expectations on perceived quality has contributed to their above-average score,” said Professor Adré Schreuder, founder and chair of SAcsi.
He added that what medical aid providers need to consider is the perceived value in the context of the price paid by policyholders for health insurance.
Heidi Kruger, head of communications of the board of Healthcare Funders in Southern Africa, said bigger open schemes like the ones used in the survey would generally have a number of benefit options, catering for the needs of all their members. Because of their size, they would also generally be very consumer-centric when it comes to client services.
“The fact that the satisfaction is so high is very encouraging, especially considering medical aid is often a grudge purchase. It also shows that people realise that they need medical aid and the value that having medical aid offers them,” said Kruger.
How does SA health insurance compare other countries?
SAcsi holds a licence with the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and forms part of a growing number of ACSI-licensed partner countries worldwide, which allows South Africa to compare customer satisfaction in various industries with this global community.
Relative to the international ACSI scores, South Africa’s health insurance industry ranked ninth among the thirteen countries measured by the ACSI. Lithuania was the leader with a score of 79 out of 100. South Africa’s score was on par with Portugal, and only just above the USA (72).
Countries that scored higher than South Africa were Turkey (78), Indonesia (76) as well as several Eastern European countries namely, Denmark (76), Finland (75), Latvia (75), Sweden (74) and Estonia (74).
Kruger said that the fact that the other countries used in the survey have very different health systems compared to South Africa should be taken into consideration.
“Most countries in Europe have some sort of National Health system, often funded by high taxes. In a country like Sweden health care is paid for by the tax payers thanks to their system of social solidarity,” said Kruger.