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Genesis Medical Scheme announces a 5.5% average increase for 2019.

It is with a great measure of delight and satisfaction that Genesis Medical Scheme is able to announce, for the 7th year running, the lowest average contribution increase of all open medical schemes for 2019.

According to Dennis van der Merwe, the Principal Officer of Genesis Medical Scheme, the average contribution increases announced by some of the bigger open medical schemes for next year is currently 10.3%. The good news for Genesis’ members, on the other hand, is that their increase will average only 5.5% in 2019 - almost half of what members of other medical schemes may have to fork out.

Whilst the cost of private healthcare in South Africa is reported to be the highest in the world, the industry is also in the midst of great uncertainty with the proposed introduction of the National Health Insurance Act (NHI) and proposed changes to the Medical Schemes Act.

Given our current economic climate, the multiple challenges we face with private healthcare costs and government’s attempts to change the entire healthcare landscape, you may ask just how it is possible for Genesis to be rated as one of the top medical schemes in South Africa AND to maintain such low annual contribution increases, year after year.

Dennis van der Merwe explains, “The ability to offer such a low increase in contributions, coupled with benefit enhancements and not reductions, as is the case with some other medical schemes, is a result of the benefits of self-administration, prudent risk management, positive financial and operational performance, steady membership growth and a young membership profile.” Van der Merwe continues to explain that the Scheme’s focus is on the provision of primarily catastrophic cover - that is, the big accident, illness or disease. “In order to keep contributions as affordable as possible, Genesis does not follow the general trend of trying to be everything to everybody, but to rather provide the best possible, no-frills and easy-to-understand benefits to a niche market in South Africa, with client centeredness and service remaining the key differentiators,” comments Van der Merwe.

Affordable medical cover is what Genesis seems to be doing best. According to data published by the financial advisory group GTC, the average increase across medical aid schemes over the last decade has hit as high as 6.4 % points above inflation. On the other hand, Genesis has maintained average contribution increases in line with or below inflation over the last decade.

Depending on which benefit option Genesis members are on, the Rand value of the 2019 contribution increases range between only R50 and R125 per adult per month. According to Van der Merwe, it is important that members of medical schemes consider the actual Rand value of their 2019 increases and not just values expressed as percentages. “We pay our bills with money; not percentages. To demonstrate this with a practical example, a 10% increase on a hospital plan from one medical scheme (“Scheme A”) may cost a family of four (two adults, two children) an additional R220 per month in 2019, while the same 10% increase may cost R463 per month more on a similar hospital plan from another medical scheme (“Scheme B”). “Although percentages are commonly used in the industry to compare increases, members should actually not be guided by this only; they should consider the actual Rand value of such increases. Percentages are only useful for comparisons within a particular scheme. What members have to pay in money is what it is all about”, concludes Van der Merwe.

There can be no doubt that we are experiencing some very challenging times financially. Each month the task of balancing the budget takes on a new meaning with the ever increasing cost of petrol, food, electricity, water and just about everything that we need to run our households. Members of medical schemes should consider their options carefully and do their homework properly. Expensive medical aid cover does not buy a better bed in hospital and it is for this reason that Genesis encourages everyone to weigh up their in-hospital (risk) cover in relation to what they pay.