It is that time of year again when the medical aids have announced their rate increases and changes for 2022 and they will shortly be communicating with their members to confirm their options for next year.
With the unusual events of the past almost two years, the process of trying to predict what increases are necessary to ensure the continued sustainability of medical aid funds has become somewhat of a crystal ball gazing exercise. This uncertainty has led some medical aids delaying their increases which has made the annual rate increase comparison between medical aids rather challenging!
While COVID-19 has led to an increase in certain medical aid costs, especially as it was designated a prescribed minimum benefit, other medical costs such as elective surgeries etc have seen dramatic deceases. This has resulted in a large pent-up demand for various surgeries and procedures. A significant issue for medical aids is trying to anticipate how people will react as the COVID environment “eases” which will obviously have a big effect on the medical costs they will have to absorb.
In this article is focused on Discovery Medical Scheme’s increases and rates.
Medical Aid Fees 2021
Owing to the financial stress brought about by COVID-19 the Council for Medical Scheme (CMS) recommended that medical aids limit their increases for 2021 to 3.9%. While this was a recommendation to medical aids, no such recommendation was given to medical practitioners and other suppliers in the medical industry.
With the concern that medical costs would increase substantially owning to the financial stress medical suppliers were themselves experiencing, the medical aid generally ignored the recommendation as is indicated by the table below:
|Medical aid||Average Increase||Effective Date|
Owing to the uncertainty, Discovery delayed their 2021 increase until the end of June. While delayed, the increase of 5.9% was higher than most of the other medical aid’s 2021 increase. The fact that the increase was delayed meant that the effective rate was 2.95%; however, it also means that the 2022 increase will be based on a higher amount.
Medical Aid Fees 2022
For 2022 the CMS recommended medical aids limit their increase to 4.2%. With the continuing uncertainty, a number of medical aids chose to delay their 2022 increases to assist their members as outlined in the table below:
|Medical aid||Average Increase||Effective Date||Effective Rate|
The 2022 increase for Discovery members will be 7.9% and will be implemented at the end of April. Again, as the increase is delayed the effective rate for the year will be 5.9% but again the 2023 increase will be based on a contribution that has increased by 5.9% in 2021 and 7.9% in 2022.
Medical Aid Inflation vs CPI
The rate of inflation in South Africa is generally measured by the annual CPI rate as follows:
Year Inflation rate (CPI)
- 2020 3.27%
- 2021 4.47%
- 2022 4.28% (forecast)
Over the past several years medical aid inflation has been running at about 3% above the CPI rate.
If the 2022 CPI forecast is assumed to be correct, then the cumulative increase in the CPI from the end of 2020 to the end of 2022 would be 9.1%.
The table below shows the comparative cumulative two-year increase of the medical aids which may be compared to the anticipated two-year increase in CPI of 9.1%:
|Medical aid||2 Year total increase|
So, while Discovery have been able to give their members some relief in 2021 and 2022 by delaying the increases, the gross increases have ensured that future premiums are based on contributions that are still tracking above inflation.
Discovery Medical Aid Rates for 2022
Discovery’s rates of the their various medical plans for 2022 are detailed below.
|Main member contribution||2020||2021||July 2021||Estimated May 2022|
|Executive Plan||R7 257||R7 257||R7 688||R8 295|
|Classic Comprehensive||R5 954||R5 954||R6 309||R6 807|
|Classic Delta Comprehensive||R5 362||R5 362||R5 681||R6 130|
|Essential Comprehensive||R5 003||R5 003||R5 301||R5 720|
|Essential Delta Comprehensive||R4 507||R4 507||R4 775||R5 152|
|Classic Smart Comprehensive||R4 327||R4 327||R4 585||R4 947|
|Classic Priority||R3 814||R3 814||R4 041||R4 360|
|Essential Priority||R3 278||R3 278||R3 472||R3 746|
|Classic Saver||R3 290||R3 290||R3 485||R3 760|
|Classic Delta Saver||R2 628||R2 628||R2 784||R3 004|
|Essential Saver||R2 615||R2 615||R2 770||R2 989|
|Essential Delta Saver||R2 085||R2 085||R2 209||R2 384|
|Coastal Saver||R2 608||R2 608||R2 763||R2 981|
|Classic Smart||R1 954||R1 954||R2 070||R2 234|
|Essential Smart||R1 400||R1 400||R1 483||R1 600|
|Classic Core||R2 449||R2 449||R2 594||R2 799|
|Classic Delta Core||R1 960||R1 960||R2 076||R2 240|
|Essential Core||R2 104||R2 104||R2 229||R2 405|
|Essential Delta Core||R1 681||R1 681||R1 781||R1 922|
|Coastal Core||R1 946||R1 946||R2 062||R2 225|
|KeyCare Plus R0-8 550||R1 207||R1 207||R1 279||R1 380|
|KeyCare Plus R8 551-13 800||R1 659||R1 659||R1 758||R1 897|
|KeyCare Plus R13 801+||R2 450||R2 450||R2 595||R2 800|
|KeyCare Core R0-8 550||R949||R949||R1 005||R1 084|
|KeyCare Core R8 551-13 800||R1 183||R1 183||R1 253||R1 352|
|KeyCare Core R13 801+||R1 809||R1 809||R1 916||R2 067|
|KeyCare Start R0-9 150||R914||R914||R968||R1 044|
|KeyCare Start R9 151-13 800||R1 538||R1 538||R1 629||R1 758|
|KeyCare Start R13 801+||R2 394||R2 394||R2 536||R2 736|