The South African Competition Tribunal has unconditionally approved the grand merger between Bonitas Medical Fund and Nedgroup Medical Aid Scheme (NMAS).
Bonitas is an open medical plan while NMAS operates as a closed medical plan with membership limited to employees and retirees of Nedbank and Old Mutual Insure.
Lee Callakoppen, CEO of Bonitas, said: “The merger will ensure that NMAS members are part of a broad, sustainable medical program and further strengthen Bonitas’ role as a leader in the healthcare market.
“Over the past few years, various developments in the healthcare industry have led to a series of consolidations and mergers between plans, a trend that is expected to continue. As a key player in the industry, with a wide range of options tailored to the needs of South Africans, Bonitas is positioning itself as the ideal merger partner.
Earlier this year, NMAS boards commissioned preliminary inquiries into a possible merger opportunity through an independent actuary. The positive results of the initial feasibility studies provided sufficient motivation for the NMAS Board of Directors to explore a merger process.
Bonitas and NMAS product offerings will remain unchanged for the remainder of 2021, with NMAS members migrating to Bonitas from January 2022.
Callaoppen noted that NMAS has more than 47,000 beneficiaries, adding that membership is “encouraging”.
He said the benefits of the merger are many. Bonitas is South Africa’s second open medical aid with financial indicators above legal requirements and the industry average. The program has one of the highest credit ratings in the industry, which is synonymous with high capacity and stability to settle claims, ensuring members have access to quality health care.
The newly merged program will have a larger national footprint and better economies of scale to negotiate favorable rates and improve supplier networks, Callaoppen said.
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