When reviewing current medical aid rates, it will be apparent to anyone who has been a member of a scheme for a number of years that, like those charged for most products and services, these have increased steadily. In practice, this is simply a knock-on effect resulting from comparable increases in the cost of various private healthcare services, in turn, made necessary by the rising cost of equipment, medications, disposables, and salaries. In fact, only by maintaining a sufficient number of members and maintaining premium charges that are related to their costs is it possible for these strictly not-for-profit organisations to continue providing cover.
That said, because unless they are affordable, sufficient membership is unlikely. Medical aid rates tend to be set according to the benefits offered by any given product. The needs of members also vary and depend on factors, such as the size of a family, the general health of family members, and the amount of disposable income available. Accordingly, individual products are designed to satisfy the most likely healthcare needs of singles, couples, or larger family groups, whilst taking into account their financial position.
Membership of a scheme is limited to a calendar year, after which it must be renewed and, at this time, a medical aid often needs to increase its rates. To do so, they must first seek the permission of the regulatory body, who will decide if an increase is justified and how much it should be.
Because, as stated earlier, maintaining sufficient member numbers is crucial, many funds look for ways to avoid increases or will, at least, attempt to keep them to a minimum. Some funds may elect to boost membership and total premium income by offering incentives, while others choose simply to limit some of the benefits they offer.
In the end, however, incentives must be paid for somehow, and limiting benefits can leave members at risk. Instead, KeyHealth maintains affordable medical aid rates by leveraging a network of preferred service providers that allows them to offer some unique and free core benefits.