Momentum Health strongly positioned in changing healthcare environment

27 September 2011 Momentum Health
Damian McHugh, Head of Marketing and Sales for Momentum Health

Damian McHugh, Head of Marketing and Sales for Momentum Health


· Contribution Increase & Benefit Changes
· Scheme Financial Stability
· Industry Consolidation Trend
· Giving Consumers What They Want
· NHI Commentary

Momentum Health’s average contribution increase for 2012 has been set at 8.8% with the retention of all existing benefits and inclusion of a new trauma benefit that provides cover for certain day-to-day claims from risk benefits, following specific traumatic events.

Commenting, Damian McHugh, Head of Marketing and Sales for Momentum Health says, “Innovative product design, financial prudence and the nature of our value of choice product philosophy, have resulted in Momentum Health being ideally positioned to prosper in a fast-changing South African healthcare environment”.

Momentum Health has seen its membership more than double in the past five years, to above 90000 principal members in 2011. Over the same period, while the industry’s average age has become older, Momentum Health reduced its average principal member age to the lowest level of the top ten largest open schemes in the industry (at 42.7 years).

“Through intelligent risk management we have also managed to drive down our healthcare costs, cut down on non-healthcare expenses from almost 20% in 2006 to below 15% of member contributions, and at the same time, we have bolstered our solvency from 15.8% at the end of 2009 to 19.5% at end 2010,”says McHugh.

As a result of continued industry consolidation, the number of medical schemes in South Africa has halved from 202 in 1994 to only 100 at the end of 2010 and this trend is expected to continue. The medical scheme administrator market too has seen significant change over the past two decades. Where a model of self-administration proved most popular in the early 90’s, a move towards multi-scheme administration specialists followed.

Through the merger of Momentum and Metropolitan, the new combined medical scheme administrator business currently represents a market share in excess of 30% - making it the largest administrator in South Africa. This market share brings about benefits of scale for Momentum Health such as greater cost efficiencies.

“With a future-focused benefit philosophy in place, we are confident that we will remain the best fit for private healthcare consumers into the future,” says McHugh. “The introduction of Momentum Health’s provider choice model aligns well with the positioning of the Scheme to meet the future demands and diverse needs of medical aid consumers,” says McHugh.

“Healthcare consumers want solutions that suit their unique needs, not products designed for general population groupings. We have seen this trend increase dramatically over the last few years with more and more consumers buying different types of options that suit their individual needs better. Flexible complementary products, like Momentum’s HealthSaver, have a prominent role to play in supplementing access to private healthcare cover, as it covers any services rendered by a registered healthcare provider, including treatment that is excluded by the Scheme,” says McHugh.

Commenting on the impact of the release of the National Health Insurance (NHI) green paper McHugh says, “The scene has been set for a period of constructive debate and dialogue between government and the various healthcare stakeholders and Momentum Health remains fully committed and looks forward to this process”.

“The challenges are many, but the green paper is a starting point from which we as an industry can work with government towards a solution that is fit for South Africa. It is a given that the implementation of NHI will require substantial funding and the burden in terms of taxation is a point that still requires clarity in order to ensure the buy-in and support of tax-paying South Africans. Other issues, such as exactly what healthcare benefits we can expect from this system and how the government is planning to fill the 80,000+ vacant positions for healthcare professionals also remain unanswered,” he continues.

“In countries across the world where an NHI system has been adopted, the additional need for top-up private healthcare cover has remained. We are confident that there will still be ample room and opportunities for additional private healthcare benefits to supplement the basic level of cover envisaged in terms of the NHI,” says McHugh

“Both the NHI green paper and the latest Council for Medical Schemes Annual Report stressed the importance of promoting a healthy lifestyle as a key strategy to help contain ever rising healthcare costs. The Momentum HealthReturns programme speaks directly to this point and we have made it even more rewarding for 2012. Where our members can currently earn up to R3 600 per adult per year, our members will now see this number climb to R5 400! This is achieved by simply selecting your HealthSaver account as the destination for your HealthReturns. This not only makes being active even more rewarding, but also helps our members to minimise any out-of-pocket expenses when it comes to their health,” says McHugh

Momentum also offers Momentum Health members access to Multiply, a wellness programme with over 30 partners and a variety of add-on products and services that are seamlessly integrated.

“Momentum Health, in conjunction with its administrator, is confident that it is ideally positioned to benefit from impending changes in its field and looks forward to being part of the solution to provide quality healthcare to a broader section of our nation,” concludes McHugh.

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