Bestmed is the latest medical scheme to announce its 2017 fee increase, which range between 9.89% and 12.35%. Dries la Grange, chief executive officer of Bestmed, said: “While the industry in general saw a far greater claims propensity than expected, Bestmed was slightly less affected. We believe that our efficiency as member owned administrator with a huge focus on wellness, our approach to encourage better health outcomes for members identified with certain risk factors is starting to make a real difference.”
The 10.98% average increase that Bestmed announced, is in line with the increased announced by Discovery Health Medical Scheme (with increases ranging between 7.8% and 14.9%), Momentum Medical Scheme (an 11% average increase) and Bonitas Medical Fund (with a flat increase of 11.9% for all options).
Chris Luyt, executive head of marketing and distribution at Bestmed, stated: “Contribution increases remain one of the most crucial announcements in the calendar of the medical aid industry. We believe that with Bestmed's very competitive increase, we are yet again well positioned to add value to employers and employees alike.”
In addition to the increases, Bestmed revealed its new brand promise ‘Personally Yours’. Luyt said: “We believe that this is the best representation of what ‘by members for members’ is about. It means that as a member of our medical scheme we will answer to you. Our only vested interest is in our members.”
The medical scheme industry
Bestmed noted that the private healthcare industry has been negatively affected by the current economic climate. Among the challenges facing South Africa’s healthcare industry are higher medical inflation, as well as significant increases in healthcare technologies and the problem of non-communicable diseases that result in a strain on the healthcare industry.
“Defensive medicine also seems to be on the rise. This refers to the practice of a diagnostic test or treatment that is not necessarily the most appropriate but is done to ensure that the diagnosis is confirmed by more than a one particular test to protect the provider in cases of legal liability,” explained Bestmed.