Bestmed hosts its 50th Conference and Annual General Meeting

02 June 2014 Alan Fritz, Bestmed
Alan Fritz, Executive Head of Sales, Marketing and Distribution at Bestmed.

Alan Fritz, Executive Head of Sales, Marketing and Distribution at Bestmed.

Bestmed is now the 5th biggest open medical aid scheme and has achieved their growth targets in a market that has seen less than 2% growth year-on-year for the last five years. This was confirmed at the Bestmed 2014 AGM which took place at the CSIR in Pretoria on the 30th of May 2014, marking the Scheme’s 50th anniversary.

At the AGM, Bestmed highlighted all financial statements, indicating the progress made thus far, and the growth the scheme has achieved for the 2013 financial year. Stakeholders had a full overview of all income statements for the year. Details of assets, funds and liabilities and risk contribution assets were explained to stakeholders.

In line with the 50th milestone, the AGM revealed Bestmed’s successes and challenges faced as well as the changes implemented in order to keep abreast with the evolving industry. "When Bestmed started out during 1964, it was known as Soms Medical Scheme, which was a small scheme with 90% government exposure and we were one of the minor scheme in the industry. We have currently grown to the position of the top 5 scheme through a combination of innovative strategies,” says Alan Fritz, Executive Head of Sales, Marketing and Distribution at Bestmed.

Bestmed, as well as other medical aid schemes, have been faced with certain industry challenges. "NHI (National Health Insurance) is currently one of the threats that all medical aids in the industry are experiencing,” comments Fritz. "The uncertainty of what the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi is planning and the implementation of the NHI poses incredible pressure on all schemes, but we hope Bestmed is well equipped to ride the waves of change. Our penetration into the corporate market bodes well for this stability, with over 150 corporate clients belonging to the scheme.”

Bestmed has seen growth over the past year from 73 715 principal members and 154 222 beneficiaries during 2012 to 88 814 principal members and 185 750 beneficiaries during 2013. The scheme concluded two successful amalgamations during 2013 with Sappi Medical Aid Scheme and Minemed Medical Scheme.
Bestmed currently has a reserve fund of R969 505 and a solvency ratio of 26.80%.

Furthermore, Fritz said that Bestmed has created a successful balance between wellness and health. In the past, they focussed on how to assist members in getting the right treatment and medication, but today the focus is on educating members on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. "Bestmed focusses on preventative care that is being paid for from the scheme’s risk benefit. This however, did not happen without hard work against a backdrop of the many challenges facing the medical aid industry,” added Fritz.

Fritz commented that a few years ago when the government implemented one scheme for all government employees (GEMS), it severely affected schemes to the extent that all government employer groups who were on a private medical aid scheme had to move to the government scheme, or risk losing their subsidy.

"The most important part of survival and growth in this industry is to be nimble, flexible and proactive,” said Fritz, "so Bestmed started to focus on the private and individual business when GEMS was initially introduced and only experienced a 4% government exposure at the time.”

Fritz said that Bestmed places a great deal of emphasis on its wellness philosophy, based on 5 basic pillars, encouraging members to Be Active, Be Safe, Be Nutri-Wise, Be Happy and Be Fin-Wise. "This is the foundation of a healthy and fulfilled life,” he summarised.

Bestmed’s CEO, Dries La Grange reflected on Bestmed’s journey and commented that along with their wellness pillars, Bestmed also focuses on other factors to make sure that their members receive quality service and better health at an affordable cost. Bestmed is integrating their service provider strategy to deliver access to quality healthcare. "Our strong service provider network has many advantages which include the improvement in the quality of services; direct payment to, providers; members’ savings accounts last longer and provider fees are set and managed.”

Bestmed’s benefit options have preventative healthcare benefits, which aim to help members to be more aware of prominent lifestyle diseases and how best to prevent these through early detection and positive lifestyle. "Managed healthcare is vital to us and we are proud to say we have applied a holistic approach in order to keep medical cover affordable over the long term to promote client satisfaction,” added La Grange.

"Following this event, we have several activities planned for the rest of the year to celebrate our 50th anniversary with our members and share our success story – embracing the theme of standing on the shoulders of giants who have built the scheme before us and propelling us to a new era for the next fifty years,” concluded Fritz.

Quick Polls


As National Treasury mulls a two-bucket retirement system, mandatory contributions and preservation, regulation 28 is being amended to allow up to 40% of retirement fund assets to be invested in SA-based infrastructure… Which of the following retirement fund ‘tweaks’ would you consider most beneficial to your clients?


Give fund members emergency access to retirement savings
Let fund members invest 40% in infrastructure
Let fund members invest 40% offshore
Mandatory preservation when resigning from a fund
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