healthcareWeekend Argus writes that as medical aid schemes announce annual increases for 2020, consumers can expect to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for their health-care needs next year.  

Among the bigger schemes: Discovery Health has announced its increases at an average of 9.5%, up from 9.2%; Bonitas stands at an average of 9.9% up from 8.9%; Momentum Health’s annual increases average at around 8.2%; and Medshield stands at 9.9%.  Increases in medical aid premiums are mostly driven by increases in the number and size of claims that medical schemes need to pay.  Andi Tooke of LifeCheq said premium increases tended to exceed inflation rates based on a number of factors.  “The salaries of health-care professionals account for a large portion of medical costs.  Therefore, salary inflation has a greater impact on medical expenses than price inflation,” she pointed out.  “In recent years, the cost of indemnity insurance has risen exponentially due to an increase in the number of lawsuits against doctors and other health-care practitioners.  To cover this cost, health-care professionals have had to increase their fees by more than inflation year on year,” Tooke explained.  She added:  “Continuous medical advancements result in treatments becoming available for previously untreatable conditions (increasing the number of medical aid claims) and improvements to existing treatments (increasing the size of claims).”

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