By: Lee Callakoppen, Principal Officer at Bonitas
South Africans are struggling with an economic backdrop of market volatility, rising unemployment and declining incomes. Add to that, spiralling utility costs, load shedding and fuel increases and things are even tighter financially, for everyone.
When income is stretched, decisions on where to spend and save become critical, including whether or not to spend hard-earned income on private healthcare. Medical aids need to be innovative and nimble with our healthcare offerings.
Over the years, we have tried to make our plans – from traditional through to hospital, savings, Edge and income based – simple and easy to understand. These are structured to meet a diverse range of quality healthcare options that are easier on the pocket.
2024 is no different. We have taken great care to balance our benefit enhancements to provide value to our members, while ensuring contributions remain affordable.
We have a responsibility to educate members and non-members about making the correct choice when it comes to their health and to be proactive in guiding them towards living a healthier lifestyle. This includes our comprehensive Care programmes as well as preventative screening and wellness checks and additional benefits.
The reality is that the prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension have increased year-on-year. This is further compounded by the increased burden of mental health which is a risk factor for non-communicable diseases and vice versa.
To provide support to our members with non-communicable diseases we have enhanced our range of Care programmes to cover:
- Mental health
- Back and neck
- Hip and knee replacements
A disease-specific approach has been created for these conditions and we have contracted a network of doctors, who are experts in treating these conditions to help improve clinical outcomes.
Be Better Benefit
A key trend across the healthcare industry has been the decline of preventative screening, including wellness checks and health risks assessments. To address this, we have intensified our drive to increase screening uptake, while ensuring our members have access to appropriate screening tests for all life stages.
The ‘Be Better Benefit’ is funded completely from risk and provides a range of screening tests and benefits to ensure that Bonitas family members get access to the necessary screenings to allow for early detection. It’s about being on the right path to good health and wellness.
This innovative benefit provides access to a wide range of tests, depending on the plan selected, such as:
- An annual wellness screening per beneficiary to check blood pressure, blood glucose, BMI, and cholesterol
- Flu vaccines
- HIV tests
- Pap smears
- Prostate screening
- Pneumococcal vaccines
- Whooping cough boosters
- HPV vaccines
- Stool tests for colon cancer
- Dental fissure sealants to prevent tooth decay,
- As well as free online hearing screenings
- It also offers access to contraceptives valued at up to R1 950.
Benefit Booster gets a boost
For 2024 we have enhanced and adjusted our Benefit Booster according to utilisation (10% monetary increase on 8 plans). It is the only benefit in the market which provides members with access to an additional amount to use for out-of-hospital expenses, at no extra cost – effectively giving savings and day-to-day benefits a healthy boost. Members can choose how to use their Benefit Booster as it covers everything from additional GP consultations to acute medicine.
How to activate it
Accessing these benefits is easy. Depending on the member’s selected plan, they simply need to complete an online wellness questionnaire on the Bonitas website, and/or a wellness screening at a Bonitas wellness day or at a participating network pharmacy. Wellness screenings can also be done at a GP as part of an annual check-up.
Navigating the medical aid environment can be tricky, which is why independent advisors are invaluable. Bonitas brokers are independent and are key in terms of guiding clients when choosing a medical aid that takes care of both their healthcare and financial needs. We know that the advisors who support us are unwavering in supporting our commitment to provide care of the highest quality.
Our strategy is to be agile and to play our part in reshaping the healthcare ecosystem. We have renewed our forward-thinking focus on outcome-based healthcare and continue to strive to introduce new distribution models and channels to keep us current and sustainable. To offer plans that help guide our members to live healthy lifestyles and to walk the wellness path alongside them.
Please note: Contributions and benefits subject to approval by the Council of Medical Schemes.
- Mental Health: Due to a 25% increase in the number of mental health hospital admissions, the mental health programme has been included on all plans for 2024.
- Depression has also been added as a chronic condition on 11 plans
- The mental health app – Panda – is a free to download mental health and wellness mobile app available to all members
- Hearing: As part of the audiology programme, free online hearing screenings have been introduced
- DBC Back and neck programme: A physiotherapy network has been established
- Oncology: Increased specialised drug benefit on BonClassic, BonComprehensive, Standard and Standard Select
- International bone marrow searches allowed
- Pharmacy network: Over 4 000 pharmacies to choose from including all Clicks, Dischem and Medirite branches
- HPV vaccine has been extended to all plans. 2 doses for females aged 9 to 14 years and 3 doses for females aged 15 to 26 years per lifetime
- HIV+ members: An annual test for HIV+ members who had a positive cytology test, as well as a choice between the 3-yearly basic cytology test or a 5-yearly HPV PCR test
- Increased the child dependant age to 24 years, not just for students
- Partnered with What’s Up Doc: An innovative patient-driven WhatsApp service, that allows doctors on the BonCap network to engage with members more easily – sharing prescriptions, blood test results, specialist referrals, etc – it’ll improve care coordination
Click here to read the Bonitas 2024 Product Launch News.