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Bestmed Medical Scheme Defies Industry Challenges with Consistent Year-on-Year Growth

27 June 2024 Bestmed Medical Scheme
Leo Dlamini

Leo Dlamini

Despite the challenges in the healthcare industry, including higher claims ratios, increasing costs, and declining industry reserves accumulated during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bestmed Medical Scheme continues to demonstrate resilience and growth – as confirmed at its 60th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held virtually on Wednesday, 26 June 2024.

Annually, the AGM provides Bestmed with the opportunity to share the Scheme’s prior financial year’s financial and operational highlights, as well as important governance aspects with its beneficiaries.

“2023 was a challenging year for the industry as a whole and while the economic outlook for 2024 is expected to remain the same, with pressure continuing to impact disposable household income, directly affecting all South African medical schemes and their members,
Bestmed has navigated these difficulties while ensuring sustained performance and member satisfaction,” said Leo Dlamini, Bestmed’s Chief Executive Officer and Principal Officer.

“During the 2023 financial year, we continued to grow with a 4.55% increase in membership, the fifth consecutive year of net membership growth. We also remain the fourth largest open medical scheme and the largest self-administered medical scheme in South Africa – meeting financial performance expectations.”

Bestmed’s strategic focus for 2023 was on ensuring value for money, positive member experience and a Personally Yours approach – key principles which still continue to underpin their approach as they enter their 60th year in South Africa.

A few highlights for the year ended 31 December 2023 include the following:
• In 2022, the number of principal members in open schemes grew by 1.25% and the number of beneficiaries grew by 0.51% (CMS annual report 2022). During the same period, Bestmed grew by 10.55% and 10.19%, respectively, and achieved the highest growth in the industry. This growth continued into 2023.
• High claims ratios are experienced across the industry. Bestmed recorded a claims ratio of 95.6% in 2023 vs 94.3% in 2022. The split of claims by benefit type remained similar in 2023 compared to 2022 – with hospitals dominating at 46% followed by specialists at 19%.
• Bestmed maintained a strong solvency ratio of 36.89% and recorded a marginal increase in reserves to R4.9 billion.
• 2023 saw the continuous improvements of network quality and accessibility with actuarial practice profiling. Network access sits currently at over 19 000 healthcare providers.
• Bestmed maintained a positive member experience as reflected in the recognition in prominent industry measures and awards, namely the Ask Afrika Orange Index®, the Financial Intermediaries Association (FIA) Product Supplier of the Year Award, the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) Titanium Awards and the News24 Medical Scheme of the Year Award.
• Fraud waste and abuse is rife in the industry and Bestmed continuously monitor and manage initiatives to minimise the impact of this on the Scheme and its members.
• Bestmed remains a good corporate citizen with ongoing corporate social investment partnerships, sponsorships and initiatives that have consistently made a significant impact on communities by enhancing sports development, healthcare access and education.

The medical aid industry continues to consolidate, but the Scheme’s key strategic goals of operational excellence, sustainable membership growth, healthcare sector leadership and innovation remain unwavering.

“We continue to build relationships in the industry and have made great progress with hospital groups, the healthcare advisor community, corporates, industry and service providers – driving greater transparency, good corporate governance and sustainability. We also continue to reposition ourselves actively as a new-generation healthcare business through innovation and exceptional service, while maintaining sustainable financial performance and high growth – all made possible by the dedicated efforts of the Scheme’s employees, healthcare advisors and healthcare providers. We look forward to continuing to drive this in 2024 and beyond,” concludes Dlamini.

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