South Africa:Bonitas medical aid announces price increases and 2 new plans

South Africa:Bonitas medical aid announces price increases and 2 new plans

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South Africa’s second largest open medical aid scheme, Bonitas, has announced a weighted increase of 4.6% across all its plans for 2021 – ranging between 0% and 7.1%.

The 0% increase is for the BonFit Select plan, the group said, adding that members on its growth options – making up 91% of business – will only experience an increase of 3.9%.

“The guidelines received from the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), clearly highlighted that medical schemes should limit contribution increases as far as possible. We crunched numbers and worked tirelessly to find the sweet-spot between sustainability and ensuring affordability,” said Lee Callakoppen, principal officer of Bonitas Medical Fund.

Bonitas noted that seven of its current options are priced between R1,500 and R3,000 per month, which is where the medical scheme market is experiencing growth currently.

“Member behaviour has changed significantly and demand is for innovation, accessibility and technology. This has the benefit of attracting, a younger, target audience and driving sustainability,” it said.

The group has introduced two new plans for 2021, which enter a technology-driven category called Edge.

The plans: BonStart and BonStart Plus, are designed for economically active singles or couples, living in the larger metros.

The plans include access to:

  • A private hospital network and full cover for emergencies;
  • PMB chronic medicine;
  • Day-to-day benefits including unlimited GP consultations;
  • Layers of virtual care, dental and optical benefits; preventative care;
  • Wellness screenings;
  • Contraceptives, and more.

The cost for the plans are R1,452 and R1,731 respectively for the principal member.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the changing trends both globally and locally, Bonitas said it will focus more on core services like managed care for growing health risks (diabetes, high blood pressure, oncology) as well as the drive for home-based care.

It is also promoting the use of day hospitals and clinics, where possible, for procedures which are better suited to such facilities.

Other focus areas for 2021 include:

  • Developing its WhatsApp channel and virtual technology platforms;
  • Continuing with the virtual care platform, which provides access to GP consultations and free delivery of chronic medicine;
  • Promoting mental health and mental wellbeing, with screening via the app and providing effective care where necessary;
  • Using the Wellness Extender benefit to pay for up to three months of subscription fees for Run/Walk for Life to help members get healthier.

“Our focus is on more primary healthcare, utilisation of preventative care benefits, digitally enabled solutions and self-help facilities for members who want access to their benefits 24/7,” the group said.

“Our goal is to improve integration of care, enable more access to out-of-hospital services, clinical information and benefits via various solutions.”

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