Best and Worst Medical Aid Schemes for 2018

medical aid schemes best

Over the past several years, market research firm Consulta has provided an independent window into consumers' experience of South Africa's largest medical aid schemes.

They use survey results to assign each of the country's five biggest schemes an overall score, indicating and ranking consumer satisfaction with the schemes.

SAcsi: a scientific measure of customer satisfaction

To determine the medical aid sector's South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi), a random sample of 1757 medical aid members were asked several weighted questions, contributing to an overall score out of 100 for each scheme.

The higher the rating, the greater the indicated satisfaction of consumers.

Consulta's use of a multi-equation econometric model means that the SAcsi survey results are one of only a few reliable measures of what consumers collectively rate as the best and worst medical aid schemes in South Africa.

Latest SAcsi survey results

Discovery Health, the largest medical aid scheme in South Africa, has topped the consumer satisfaction charts again. According to the SAcsi survey results from the end of last year, the healthcare component of the Discovery Group best met customer expectations in terms of quality and value.

So what are the benchmark schemes, and how did they rate? From highest to lowest, the latest scores are as follows:

Annual rating movement: up or down?

Compare the current scores with those of 2015, and the overall trend is downward. Only Discovery Health and Medihelp improved their scores by 0.7 and 1.9, respectively. Bonitas (-2.1), Gems (-3.2) and Momentum (-3.4) all witnessed a tailing off of customer satisfaction in 2017.

The merger with Liberty Health is tipped as a major contributing factor in Bonitas' marginally lower score. That, together with 10.98% average increase in contributions in 2017, slightly dampened members' enthusiasm for the third largest medical aid scheme in the country.

What is interesting is that of the "Big Five" schemes, only Discovery Health is consistently rated above the 74.2 industry average. With that sort of track record, plus a market share of 54% and a beneficiary base of three million, the healthcare giant clearly deserves its rating as the best medical aid scheme in South Africa.

What impacts overall satisfaction?

Compared to other financial service industries, such as the banking industry (average rating 76.5), and life insurance sector (average rating 79.0), the medical aid industry is rated the lowest in terms of customer satisfaction.

The undeniable fact is medical aid is viewed as a grudge purchase. There's nothing exciting or intrinsically satisfying about spending money on medical risk mitigation.

Consumers may feel bamboozled by complex rules, waiting periods and exclusions, and spiralling healthcare costs mean that annual contributions can be significant strain on household budgets.

Nonetheless, there's no denying that in the event of a major medical emergency, medical aid membership is an absolute necessity.

At IFC, we specialise in finding you the best medical aid for your needs and budget. Call us on 021 593 3012 or request a quote online.