South Africans are spoilt for choice with the many medical aid schemes that we have at our disposal. Some offer basic medical care, whilst others offer quality care and tailor-made packages to suit your every need. Then the cream of the crop goes on to provide wellness programmes and discounted gym memberships in an effort to encourage a healthier South Africa. The turnaround times on claims and quality client service is also of high standard.

Depending on your age, family situation and budget, there is a good plan to meet your needs.

Here are the top ten medical aid companies by membership. The results are not surprising.

  • Discovery Health

Discovery is the leading medical Aid in South Africa. It has 132 342 7 million principal member and 2 777 946 beneficiaries. They offer 23 medical scheme options. Their corporate offering and image show that Discovery Health has taken great pride in becoming a market leader. They have an AA+ global rating.

  • GEMS

GEMS is the second biggest medical aid in South Africa. It has 180100 members. However, it is only for the Government employees. They have 5 different offerings to cater for the various levels of employees. Premiums are further broken down to suit salary brackets allowing more affordability.

  • Bonitas Medical Fund

Bonitas has 753 514 beneficiaries in total. The principal member numbers for 2016 was 348 088 and 295 488 in 2015. We find that Bonitas is growing at a rapid rate. They have recently merged with Liberty Health. The company has been registered since 1982. And they have an AA+ rating.

  • Momentum health

Momentum health has 90 000 principal members and 257 370 members. It is the fourth largest medical aid. Established in May 1971. They have an AA- rating.

  • Best Med

Best Med has been operational for 50 years and has 200 400 members. They have 10 different options to choose from. They are self-administered. Their packages are made to suit the different stages of a person’s life. Young and independent to young families up to the elderly with their Comprehensive cover.

  • Medihelp

Medihelp has 200 000 members on its base. That includes principal and beneficiary members. They are 20 years old. All of their plans cover major medical services, screening test and day-to-day doctor visits. There is also a plan for full-time university students

  • Medshield

Has a membership of 191 000 members. They have an AA- global credit rating. Operational since 1968. They recently took over Oxygen Medical Aid.

  • Fedhealth

FedHealth has been operating since 1936. They have an AA- credit rating. Their membership base is 150 000 members. They offer 12 tailor-made packages. They cater to the lower income South Africans with their BluDoor Plus package and even the elderly with their Ultimax Comprehensive package. They have an AA- rating

  • Resolution medical

Resolution medical aid covers 150 000 members. They registered in1998 and have the 2nd highest A+ rating. They offer 7 different plans. They have designed their package according to age by offering basic entry level package and the comprehensive packages.

  • Keyhealth

KeyHealth was registered in May 1968. They have a philosophy of “keep it Simple”. They offer five packages. There are no loyalty programmes or bonuses. Their focus is purely Medical Aid.

As you have seen, one of the best way to compare medical aid is by its membership. Your own needs and situation are also important. There is no one size fits all.

Due to the different offering and how each company tailor makes each package, it would be difficult to compare. Discovery seems to have a monopoly of the market but that is due to the corporate buy-in. GEMS has a monopoly of the Government employee base. The rest of the companies are still in the race. Many have some great offers.

You need to dig a bit and read about the options in order to work out what will work best for you and your family.


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