Sizwe Medical Fund has proposed to increase premiums for 2013 at a weighted average of 10.82%, subject to approval by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS). The group said the figure falls within the range of increases announced by other schemes in the industry.
Speaking about the changes for 2013, Sizwe provisional curator, Dr Ngubekhaya Gobinca, said the scheme has expanded its product range to include a new generation savings-style product with a 25% savings account.
“While there are no structural changes to the benefits for next year, we have taken into account the need to focus on taking a more preventative approach. To this end we have added new wellness screening benefits and an oral contraceptive benefit for women across all options. We have also increased the hospitalisation benefit for our lower end option, Primary, to R1 000 000. The hospitalisation limit on all other products remains unlimited.”
Gobinca attributes the contribution increase to a rise in the use of benefits as a result of ageing beneficiaries, an issue faced by all schemes in the market; external cost drivers; the rising burden of disease; advances in more expensive technology and ensuring that the scheme maintains healthy reserves during 2013.
The scheme was placed under provisional curatorship by CMS on 4 September 2012 due to governance concerns. It remains under curatorship while awaiting the outcome of a court hearing following a legal challenge against the curatorship application. Gobinca assures members that business continues as usual.
“We are focusing on reinforcing governance control structures, improving stakeholder relations, improving member experiences and reducing running costs. We are confident that we have a strong business model for 2013 and beyond, and that the scheme will be more competitive while growing in a self-sustaining and responsible manner. Sizwe continues to fulfill its obligations to its members and remains one of the largest schemes in the market with healthy financial reserves,” concludes Gobinca.