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Medihelp’s results shines in difficult economic times

20 April 2009 Medihelp
Anton Rijnen, Executive Principal Officer of Medihelp.

Anton Rijnen, Executive Principal Officer of Medihelp.

Medihelp, South Africa’s third largest open scheme, has announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2008 and the Scheme has again managed to shine amid difficult economic conditions when most companies found their profits under threat.

“Medihelp's net surplus of R190.8 million at the end of 2008 is 7% up from the R178.2million net surplus at the end of 2007. The Scheme's underwriting surplus at the end of 2008 is R73.5 million. Because of these excellent financial results, the Scheme has managed to increase its solvency level from 29.99% in 2007 to 35.85% in 2008. The fact that this went hand in hand with a growth in membership makes the achievement even more unique, as an increase in membership normally causes a drop in a medical scheme's solvency level,” says Anton Rijnen, Executive Principal Officer of Medihelp.

“The Scheme has managed to grow its membership in 2008 by 4.45% from 179,555 lives to 186,503. This excludes the new members which were enrolled on 1 January 2009 following Medihelp's amalgamation with OpenPlan. Medihelp's member growth trend has continued in the new year and at the end of February 2009, its member base has grown to 207,306 lives, which represents an 11.15% growth rate thus far in 2009. The age of Medihelp’s members has also declined with one year, meaning the Scheme has grown its lives with younger members,” says Rijnen.

Besides Medihelp's financial and growth achievements in 2008, the Scheme has also performed well with regard to its client service, brand awareness, claims-paying ability, and as an employer. The Ask Afrika Orange Delight Index named Medihelp as the company that renders the best client service in South Africa. Medihelp's brand was also identified as one of the three most recognised brands in South Africa, and the Scheme's claims-paying ability was upgraded by Global Credit Rating from A+ to AA–. Medihelp was furthermore named as eighth best medium-sized employer in South Africa in the Deloitte Best Company to Work For survey, and the Scheme's Executive Principal Officer was named the fourth best manager in the Corporate Research Foundation's publication Leading Managers of South Africa.

According to Rijnen, Medihelp's achievements stand out in a medical schemes market characterised by strict regulation and increasing pressure to cut back on administration costs and membership fees. “Medihelp's non-healthcare expenses as a percentage of its premium income stand at 10.2% and the Scheme's average premium increase for 2009 was only 6.1% – half the average increase in the market. This low premium increase was made possible by Medihelp's excellent financial performance over the past few years, which resulted in a higher solvency level that Medihelp could tap in to and offer relief to its members in these difficult economic times.”

“Medihelp intends to keep its performance up in 2009 by focusing on achieving good financial results, rendering exceptional client service, and growing its membership. This way, the Scheme can meet the needs of all its members and remain one of the preferred medical schemes in South Africa. It is clear from Medihelp's results for 2008 that the Scheme has distinguished itself as a leader and has set an example for others in the medical schemes industry,” he says.

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