Flexible options and a lower annual increase
One of the challenges facing medical schemes is that, in the past few years, the average age of beneficiaries has increased. Older members typically claim more from their medical schemes, which impacts the contributions charged, and results in higher annual contribution increases.
“The industry’s increases this year are high, especially given a tough economic climate, which continues to put strain on consumers’ pockets,” concedes Damian McHugh, executive head of sales and marketing at Momentum Health Solutions.
“However, various factors, including rising medical inflation rates, consumer and supply demand, as well as increased regulatory requirements, influence the increases required to keep medical schemes sustainable.”
He says the biggest issue the industry faces is the ageing health consumer.
“Simply put, the older you are the more you claim.”
Momentum Health medical scheme recently announced a weighted average annual contribution increase of 8.2% for 2020, which McHugh believes is the one of the lowest contribution increases for the year ahead in the industry.
“Momentum Health has been able to manage this risk very well despite tough economic times through the flexibility of our product offering which caters to consumers’ needs and affordability,” he says.
“In addition to announcing one of the lowest contribution increases so far this year, we’ve also once again retained stability in our product offering with no reduction in benefits. In fact, in most cases the scheme has increased benefit limits.”
There are a growing number of medical schemes for which this is not the case and where the underlying metrics either demographics or claims trends are not looking good, he says. “While these may be subtle differences now, these trends are likely to deteriorate over time. This is a common phenomenon and may force schemes to consider reducing benefits.”
One of the most notable benefits Momentum Health has increased for the year ahead include a maternity benefit which has been enhanced to provide for nurse-based support at home for new moms following the birth of a baby. The scheme has also launched a new option which caters to the unique needs of the up-and coming millennial market.
“The best approach to medical cover begins with understanding what your needs are and then designing the best possible solution around those needs,” McHugh advises.
“Make sure you understand the intricacies of your medical scheme and exactly what you are paying for as all too often the distinction between benefits and contributions is unclear.”
Momentum Health offers flexible options that allow clients to build the medical cover that best suits their lifestyle requirements