Category Healthcare
SUB CATEGORIES General  |  HIV |  Medical Schemes | 

Discovery Health releases key trends in birth rates as well as the costs associated with pregnancy, birth and new babies

15 August 2019 Discovery Health

Discovery Health releases key trends in birth rates as well as the costs associated with pregnancy, birth and new babies

Discovery Health releases claims data for maternity claims

• In 2018, there were a total of 38 194 deliveries on Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS or the Scheme). This represents approximately 64% of all babies born onto an open medical scheme during 2017.
• The total amount paid by the Scheme for deliveries in 2018 was R1.5 billion
• The average cost of a delivery is R38 968, with the most expensive delivery costing R2.3million for a 35 years old member that stayed in hospital for over 70 days

The latest Discovery Health Healthcare Claims Tracker focuses on maternity claims, quantifying the spend by Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS, or the Scheme) on maternity related claims and highlighting key trends amongst members. The report includes data based on all claims within South Africa’s largest, open medical scheme, DHMS, with a membership of 2.8 million lives as at the end of 2018.

About 100 DHMS babies were born daily in South Africa over the last decade. “The total number of deliveries increased by 24% from 2008 to 2014, following which the number of deliveries has decreased marginally to 38 194 in 2018. The increase over the period is primarily due to the 42% growth in the number of members on the Scheme” says Chris Jones, Head of Technical Marketing for Discovery Health.

Trends in the number of babies born to DHMS members are in line with international data for global fertility rates, which continue to decrease. Globally, in 2008 a woman was expected, on average, to give birth to 2.53 children across her life. By 2017, this figure had decreased to 2.37. “This trend is being experienced in many countries across the world, including South Africa and is also evident in DHMS.

One of the key findings is the steady increase in Caesarean section births over the last decade.

• 9 641 members (25%) had natural births (vaginal deliveries), costing R241m in total
• By contrast, 28 553 (75%) members had Caesarean deliveries, costing R1.3bn
• The average cost of a natural birth was R24 866 with an average of 2.7 days hospital stay
• Caesarean delivery cost R43 726 on average, with an average length of stay of 3.8 days.

Jones says the baby name trends reveal that Mia has consistently been the most popular female baby name among DHMS members from 2008 to 2018. “Interestingly, Liam has increased in popularity over the past decade, and was the most popular male baby’s name in 2018. The most popular female names in each of the provinces include Emily, Lethabo, Miané, Olivia and Tshegofatso. Daniel, Johannes, Kgosi, Liam, Muhammad and Pieter were the most popular male names in the various provinces,” added Jones.

DHMS provides members with access to comprehensive maternity and post-birth risk benefits on all plans, supported by 24/7 advice and guidance through the Discovery app.

“Close to 95% of pregnant members on the Scheme access this benefit, receiving cover during pregnancy and for the first two years after delivery for medical expenses such as consultations with the GP, gynaecologist or paediatrician and ultrasound scans and pre-natal screening. Since this benefit was introduced in January 2018, claims worth over R250m have been covered by the Scheme’s risk benefits, instead of requiring the member to pay for these claims from the Medical Savings Accounts or out-of-pocket, offering new families on DHMS approximately R14 000 of additional value,” says Jones.

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