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Category Healthcare
SUB CATEGORIES General  |  HIV |  Medical Schemes | 

Depressing…

23 July 2004 Angelo Coppola

Figures released by Medscheme show that the cost of treating mental illness is increasing significantly.

According to Dan Pienaar, MD of Solutio Health Risk Management, a managed healthcare company, the costs for anti-depressants has trebled since 1997 and the number of prescriptions per 1000 lives has risen from 8 in 1997 to 18 this year.

“There are several reasons for the increase in treatment,” says Pienaar.  
 

“Firstly, the Medical Schemes Act has forced some inclusions, and medical aid schemes are increasing benefits for mental health as it becomes less stigmatized.  As a result, we are seeing less “masking” of diagnoses coming from healthcare providers, and are now getting a more accurate picture.”
 

The largest areas of increase are for anti-depressants (e.g. Prozac) and anxiolytics (tranquilizers).  
 

In addition, the number of psychiatric hospitalization cases has increased from 2.7 to 3.8 admissions per 1000 lives in the last 23 months.
 

To address the issue, Solutio has embarked on an integrated range of programmes, including case management, chronic medicine management and, where necessary, referral to a hospital facility in consultation with the patient’s practitioner.
 

“Our modern lifestyles contain many stressors, which exacerbate our mental health problems,” says Pienaar. . 
 

“At the same time, it is important for people to play their part in living healthier lifestyles by getting enough exercise and sleep, while eating and drinking the right things.”

Quick Polls

QUESTION

Healthcare brokers have long complained about inflation-plus medical scheme contribution increases; but pandemic may have changed things. What will pandemic-induced changes in hospital utilisation do to medical scheme contribution increase patterns?

ANSWER

Below inflation increase for 2022, then back to inflation-plus
Long-term trend of below inflation increases
Inflation-linked hikes for 2022, then back to inflation-plus
This is a 2-year hiccup, inflation-plus increase trend remains in place
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