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Scheme’s members are able to structure options to suit their needs

The healthcare industry in SA is in constant flux, perhaps more so at present than in recent years, given an increasingly unstable economic landscape and the proposal of new NHI regulations.

It is against this backdrop that Momentum Health has announced an average annual contribution increase of 10.7% for 2019, citing rising medical inflation, the Vat increase and regulatory requirements.

Despite this year-on-year increase, Momentum Health continues to have one of the lowest average contributions in the market, with one of the most stable benefit designs over the past 10 years, which is significant considering the scheme has also avoided having to use benefit reductions to achieve lower contributions, according to Damian McHugh, head of health marketing and growth at Momentum.

“In fact, Momentum Health has improved its benefits for 2019 with the aim of delivering real value to its members.”

McHugh says that this high level of stability, as well as the opportunity to use one’s family’s health as an asset, gives members comfort during times of economic uncertainty.

“Our stability and our holistic offering play into the idea of what South African healthcare consumers want and what value they are looking for over the long term, especially since members are allowed flexibility of choice to structure their medical scheme options to suit their needs and in line with their affordability.”

McHugh says that for industry players, and in particular financial advisers, it is becoming increasingly crucial to understand the emerging differences in the ways in which medical schemes are structured to ascertain where true value lies.

“When looking at the underlying metrics of medical schemes — whether it be demographics or the consistency of claims, or the actual value of perceived benefits — there is a growing number of South African schemes for which these metrics are not looking good.

“While these may be quite subtle differences now, these trends are likely to grow over time. It is therefore critical that the industry begins to analyse the essence of what these schemes are going to be able to provide in the long run and avoid getting caught up in the marketing hype.

“Some schemes, for example, may be keeping their price low to attract younger members — the risk here being that if they are not successful in attracting this younger demographic, they will have to significantly raise premiums for existing members at some point or benefits will be decreased.

“This is why the ideas of sustainability and flexibility are so important for long-term financial security. Practically, for customers, Momentum want to make sure they have a variety of relevant benefits along with price sustainability over a period of time that is wellcorrelated to the market, yet affordable to the consumer, with products and solutions that allow for some flexibility around plan design,” says McHugh.

He says that with this goal in mind, Momentum has been moving the healthcare industry forward for the past 20 years with a flexible offering and innovative thinking. Momentum has reimagined the possibilities in health and wellness management through solutions such as Momentum GapCover, Provider Choice, HealthSaver, HealthReturns, Staff Care Solutions and, more recently, Multiply Visa® Card and Multiply for Corporates.

The company is also leading artificial intelligence innovation in the industry with some exciting developments that will allow for earlier intervention and help the scheme achieve its overall objective of creating improved health for members.

“The high level of innovation that Momentum has brought to the healthcare environment provides our members with greater flexibility,” says McHugh.

“This is something we will continue to advance in, so that members continue to view their health as an asset. By combining Momentum Health with the Momentum complementary product offerings, our clients benefit from value, flexibility and choice.”