The medical schemes regulator has rejected a proposed merger between SA’s third biggest medical scheme, Momentum Health, and a small scheme restricted to the South African employees of the British oil and gas company BP.

It is an unusual development, as the medical schemes industry is consolidating and has seen the number of schemes steadily shrink from 93 to 80 from 2012-2018. The mergers driving this trend generally go through the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) without a hitch: in 2017 Momentum merged with Metropolitan, and the University of the Witwatersrand Medical Fund amalgamated with Discovery Health Medical Scheme; and in August the regulator approved the amalgamation of Fedhealth and TopMed.

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