“The cost of private healthcare in South Africa is reported to be the highest in the world, with medical aid increases driven by medical aid and inflation,” says Bafihlile Mokoena, communication specialist: public relations & corporate social investment at Bestmed.
Tony Singleton, CEO of Turnberry Risk Management Solutions, says that some of the key drivers of medical inflation at this moment include:
1. The 1% VAT increase and its knock-on effect throughout the medical industry
2. Shortages of specialist doctors
3. New medical appliances and technologies coming at high cost to hospitals and specialists
4. Increase in the costs of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals
5. Increase in doctors’ indemnity insurance costs
“In South Africa, the problem is further aggravated by the rand-dollar exchange rate,” he adds.
According to Shreekanth Sing, technical legal adviser at PSG Wealth, medical aid schemes are expected to increase premiums for 2019 by an average of between 8% and 10%, compared to inflation of 4.9%. This was in line with Discovery Health – SA’s largest open medical aid scheme – announcing between 8.9% and 9.9% increases, and Bestmed announcing an increase in its premiums of 8.9%. ■