There have been a number of positional changes in the medical aid industry, according to the latest SA Medical Aid Customer Satisfaction Index. One of the most notable changes is Liberty Health moving from a below par performance in 2014 to being named an industry leader, according to the latest survey for Q4 2015.
The medical aid companies included in the survey were, Bonitas, Discovery Health, Liberty Health, Medihelp, GEMS and Momentum Health.
Private medical aid policyholders gave the health insurance industry a satisfaction score of 74.2 out of 100. There were 2105 private medical aid policyholders surveyed, and the results are almost unchanged from the last measure carried out in 2015, according to SAcsi.
However, there was a change in the leading brand for the first time in three years. SAsci noted that Liberty has moved from being “a below par performance in 2014 to being named as industry leader this year.”
The results for each medical aid were as follows:
- Liberty scored 76.9 out of 100 (the highest score in the survey).
- Momentum Health scored 75.6.
- Bonitas scored 75.2.
- Discovery Health scored 74.1.
- Medihelp scored 70.7.
- GEMS scored 67.5.
Momentum Health, Bonitas and Discovery Health were on par with the industry standard, however, Medihelp and GEMS were deemed below par. In addition, SAsci noted with concern the seven point decline in GEMS’ score compared to 2014.
SAsci noted that the results on the medical aid index were in line with the results of other insurance product surveys released over the past few weeks.
The survey looked at customer satisfaction with the three types of medical plans: comprehensive, network schemes and hospital plans. According to SAsci, the results indicated that customers on comprehensive plans were more satisfied than those on hospital plans or network options.
Customers scored comprehensive plans 76.1 out of 100, while hospital plans scored 72.2 and network options scored 70.3. “Customers who have experienced rejected claims report dramatically lower overall satisfaction levels of 63.3,” noted SAsci.
Professor Adrè Schreuder, CEO of Consulta and founder of SAcsi, highlighted: “Private healthcare in South Africa is becoming a grudge purchase, so these companies should be looking to actively improve the perceived value scores.”
According to Consulta, consumers have a perception of a lack of value in the medical aid sector, as the industry’s perceived value score declined by 1.3 index points since 2014. Liberty Health and Momentum Health were the only brands to show an increased value in the year-on-year comparison.
The results of the survey are concerning, according to Consulta, as customer expectations remain high, yet the brands “fail to meet expectations in terms of reliability as they report that things go wrong more often than expected.”
One reason for this, according to Schreuder, is that medical aid is a relatively expensive product and therefore customers have a high expectation. However, Schreuder added that it is clear that medical aids are working to reduce the number of complaints and improve the handling of any complaints received.
“Medical aids are a high touch industry, meaning that there is a lot of interaction with the brands. Liberty has reported less than half the number of complaints since last year, reducing this from 23% of customers to 10.4% of customers. In addition, they improved how complaints are handled. Momentum has the highest score in the industry when it comes to handling complaints satisfactorily,” noted Schreuder.
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