The Best Medical Aid Schemes for Families in South Africa

  • Medical aid has become somewhat of a non-negotiable expense for South Africans.
  • There is a long list of medical aid options to choose from with a wide range of benefits to suit your needs.
  • Finding the best medical aid cover for a family, especially a young family, can become quite an intricate decision.

The truth is, there is no best medical aid overall. However, there is a best scheme for your specific family. Each scheme has their own benefits, pros and cons. There is no single market leader when it comes to medical aid. The best way to determine which medical aid will be your best fit, get a comparative quotation that covers all your needs.

Market researchers, Consulta, conducted a survey to determine a score for medical aids, namely the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi). This score demonstrated that some of the bigger schemes are struggling with customer satisfaction, with a new industry leader making an appearance.

Overall, scores have dropped given that the industry average has seen a decline from 74.2 in 2017 to 72.7 in 2018.

If you are interested in the scores of the medical aid schemes surveyed according to the SAcsi, here they are:

1. MediHelp

They are topping the leaderboard. MediHelp is a relatively new scheme on the market. MediHelp was the only open scheme that saw in increase in their SAcsi score in 2018.

This shows that their strategy is working by targeting a niche audience, leveraging both leadership and contributions to deliver a service that is exactly what their customers need.

2. Discovery

A well-known medical aid heavyweight, Discovery Health remains a strong competitor in the medical aid space. However, the Discovery brand seems to be focusing more on other offerings in their brand, such as a new banking service and insurance offerings.

In a way, this has opened the door for competitors to step up and even the playing field between a very well-known name in the industry and small players.

3. Momentum

Momentum Health was the only scheme to maintain its SAcsi score from 2017 to 2018. They have various plans that offer different benefits, discounts, and complimentary services which makes them popular among masses.

4. Bonitas

Of the five schemes surveyed, Bonitas saw the biggest drop in customer satisfaction. Their SAcsi score dropped by 2.9 points from 2017 to 2018.

5. GEMS

GEMS is a closed scheme only open to government employees. Their score was also measured for the purpose of the study for a realistic result.

When analysed more closely, the main reason for the decline is overall customer satisfaction can be credited to the ever-increasing premiums and decreasing benefits customers are receiving from their medical aid schemes.

There are over 270 different medical aid options available to customers in South Africa. This makes it incredibly difficult for customers to make decisions about what the right scheme is for their family. Not to mention the confusion surrounding what policies include that leave customers even more frustrated at the end of the day when certain claims are not covered that should have been, or so they thought.

NHI Implementation

In June 2018, it was announced that a National Health Insurance would be implemented. This means that there is increasing pressure is being placed on private medical aid schemes to up their game, without hiking up their prices too much.

Schemes need to assess their offerings closely to determine if what they are indeed offering is of the best quality and value to their customers while maintaining an affordable premium.

A new player in the field will ultimately affect how medical aids operate and possibly even their profitability. That is, if the new health plan is successful. The main purpose of the NHI is to benefit a wider range of the population and not only those who can afford medical insurance. Obviously, there have been opponents pushing back and questioning the NHI’s viability.

Should the implementation of the NHI be successful, this list of top medical aids could change quite drastically. However, for the time being, this is the lay of the landscape for medical aid schemes in South Africa. Choosing a medical aid scheme for your family remains a complicated decision that required much thought.