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

According to Head of Health Marketing and Growth at Momentum, Damian McHugh, 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. This, according to McHugh, is significant considering the scheme has also avoided having to use benefit reductions to achieve lower contributions.

Momentum Health has an average beneficiary age of 32.8 years and an average principal member age of 41.9. Having young members contributes to a solvency level of 25.7%, which has been consistently above the regulatory requirement of 25% for the last five years. As is indicated by regulatory frameworks, solvency is identified as a key benchmark for the sustainability of a scheme, giving members the necessary reassurance of claims payment ability.

“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,” said McHugh.

McHugh added 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 you look 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,” said McHugh.

McHugh went on to say that it is critical for the industry to begin 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.

Therefore, according to McHugh, the ideas of sustainability and flexibility are important for long-term financial security.

“Practically, for customers, we want to make sure we have a variety of relevant benefits along with price sustainability over a period of time. We want to have a premium that is well-correlated to the market, yet affordable to the consumer, with products and solutions that allow for some flexibility around plan design,” said McHugh.

Over the last 20 years Momentum has promoted 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.

Momentum Health is also involved in artificial intelligence (AI) innovation 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 — such as the complementary offerings — provides our members with greater flexibility. This is something we will continue to advance in, so that the members continue to view their health as an asset for their future journey,” said McHugh

“By combining Momentum Health with the Momentum complementary product offerings, our clients benefit from unmatched value, flexibility, and choice, helping them along their journey to success,” concluded McHugh.

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