Amalgamation boosts Medihelp’s membership

23 January 2009 Medihelp

Medihelp, South Africa’s third largest open scheme boosted its membership when Open Plan Medical Scheme amalgamated with it on 1 January this year.

The amalgamation equates to a net membership growth of around 8 000 members and, together with the organic growth in membership of around 14% during 2008, brings Medihelp’s primary membership to more than 106 000 at the beginning of this year. In addition Medihelp gained about R80 million in reserves from Open Plan.

Medihelp also had an excellent financial year in 2008, growing its solvency level from the 29.98% at the end of 2007. This is an excellent achievement taking into account that a growth in membership normally has a negative impact on a scheme’s solvency ratio.

The amalgamation follows Medihelp’s takeover of more than 3 000 members from the Renaissance Health Medical Scheme in October 2008. At the time Renaissance was put under curatorship by the Registrar of Medical Schemes due to financial problems. On recommendation of the Registrar Medihelp took over the members giving them the peace of mind that their health needs are being taken care of by one of the best medical schemes in the country.

According to Anton Rijnen (pictured), Executive Principal Officer of Medihelp, the amalgamation expanded Medihelp’s risk pool which is in line with one of the Scheme’s strategic objectives to grow its membership base. “In addition the average age of the Open Plan members will have a positive impact on Medihelp’s current age profile. Another advantage is the positive effect of the additional members on the Scheme’s administrative expenses,” says Rijnen.

The amalgamation process took six months to complete during which time Medihelp took over the administration of the Open Plan members from the Metropolitan Health Group (MHG). However, until the end of April 2009, MHG will still be responsible for the administration of all services that have been rendered to Open Plan members during 2008.

Open Plan members will also have the peace of mind that they will have representation on Medihelp’s Board of Trustees until Medihelp’s next Annual General Meeting in June this year.

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