These are the most popular medical aid plans at Discovery, Bonitas and Momentum – and how much they cost

The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has released its annual industry report, showing how registered medical schemes in South Africa weathered the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

In the report, the CMS also gives a breakdown of industry data across all medical plans, including the number of beneficiaries attached to the different plans within each medical plan.

South Africa now has 76 registered medical schemes, down two from 2019 following two mergers. These 76 schemes had a total of 8.89 million beneficiaries in 2020, compared to 8.99 million in 2019, a decrease of 1.15% year-on-year.

The number of beneficiaries covered by restricted schemes increased by 45,525 beneficiaries and the number of beneficiaries covered by open schemes decreased by 148,752 beneficiaries between 2019 and 2020, i.e. a net loss of 103,227 beneficiaries for all schemes combined.

Discovery remains the nation’s largest open medical plan, with 1.33 million members and 2.76 million beneficiaries. Next is the Bonitas Medical Fund with 333,141 members and 710,157. Momentum Medical Scheme is the third largest open scheme with 152,228 members and 293,457 beneficiaries.

Of the three largest plans, mid-level or standard medical aid plans are proving to be the most popular, according to CMS data.

For Discovery, its Classic Saver plan is by far the most popular, with 680,000 beneficiaries (25%) attached to the plan. Half of all Discovery beneficiaries benefit from a Saver plan, which bundles medical savings for a higher monthly contribution (a portion of the fee goes toward savings). 1.37 million beneficiaries are attached to these types of plans.

The least subscribed type of plan is the leading Executive plan, which has only 8,240 members and 17,000 beneficiaries. The Classic Smart Comprehensive plan is the least popular overall, with 467 members and 958 beneficiaries.

After delaying annual dues increases for 2021 by six months until July 1, 2021, Discovery said the 7.9% annual dues increases for 2022 will not be implemented until May 1, 2022.

Deferring increases for 2021 and 2022 means that members will have a real effective increase in total dues of 2.9% in 2021 and 5.3% in 2022.

The prices below are monthly dues for primary members.

Discovery Medical Plans 2020

Plan Members Beneficiaries price 2022
Classic saver 308,970 680 184 R3 485
Coastal saver 172,053 386,250 R2 763
Key Care Plus 208,859 365,712 R1,279 – R2,595
Essential Saver 141,708 302,754 R2,770
Full Classic 111,632 239,654 R6 309
Classic priority 78,484 174,025 R4 041
coastal core 76,359 172 129 R2 062
Essential Core 49,036 107,039 R2 229
Classic core 48,210 104,414 R2 594
Classic Smart 47,602 94,353 R2,070
Essential Smart 38,854 45,490 R1 483
KeyCare Core 15,950 26,389 R1,005 – R1,916
Complete Essential 12,738 23,272 R5 301
Executive 8,237 17,057 R7 688
Essential Priority 5,203 10,653 R3 472
Starting KeyCare 6,151 8,007 R968 – R2 536
Classic Intelligent Complete 467 958 R4,585
Total 1,330,513 2,758,340

South Africa’s second largest open scheme, Bonitas, has most of its members (%) on the Standard and Primary schemes. These are simple plans that have day-to-day coverage and hospital coverage.

Similar to Discovery’s top-tier option, the BonComprehensive plan has the lowest beneficiary base.

In September, Bonitas announced a weighted average increase of 4.8% for its medical plans in 2022. The increases will vary across the group’s plans, with the BonStart contribution fee decreasing by 7.9%. This can be attributed to the low cost-benefit ratio and the plan’s younger member profile, Bonitas said.

Bonitas Medical Plans 2020

Plan Members Beneficiaries price 2022
Standard 114,297 250 255 R4 230
Primary 89,445 211 137 R2 654
BonSave 35,548 83 150 R2 950
BonCap 48 206 74,843 R780 – R2 982
BonEssential 11,228 25,139 R2 033
BonComplet 9,110 18,115 R4,570
GoodClassic 9,134 16,212 R5,677
BonFit Select 5,739 12,406 R2 230
Hospital standard 5,347 10,002 R2 592
BonComplet 5,087 8,898 R8 217
Total 333 141 710 157

Among Momentum members, the custom option has proven to be the most popular. The plan provides coverage for hospitalization in private hospitals with no overall annual limit, giving customers the flexibility to choose to have access to any hospital or choose to receive a discount on premiums by choosing to use a specific list of private hospitals.

The premium Summit option is the least subscribed.

Momentum announced in September that it would be freezing its fees until September 2022, so the prices below reflect what members will pay for the first eight months of the year. Thereafter, a 6% fee hike will be implemented, he said.

Momentum Medical Plans 2020

Plan Members Beneficiaries price 2022
Custom 70,796 163,786 R1 706
incentive 31,263 67,775 R2 224
Ingwe 44,000 52,186 R455
expander 3,171 6,170 R5 231
To evolve 2,623 2,957 R1,345
Mountain peak 375 583 R10,642
Total 152,228 293,457

Read: Here’s how many people left South Africa’s biggest medical aid programs last year