The proportion of medical scheme members with chronic illnesses has been steadily increasing since 2011, posing a growing financial risk to the industry, the Council for Medical Schemes warned in a report released on Tuesday. "Patients registered on chronic programmes are sicker and claim more. That should be a concern for medical schemes," said the council’s GM for research and monitoring, Anton de Villiers. The council analysed data provided by medical schemes for the period 2011 to 2016 and found a significant increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, which rose 35.4% to 31.5 cases per 1,000 members. The prevalence of high cholesterol rose 19.7% to 41.2 cases per 1,000 beneficiaries and hypertension ticked up 10.6% to 91 cases per 1,000 beneficiaries, it said in its report. The prevalence of HIV soared 135% to 22 cases per 1,000 beneficiaries. The council’s analysis drew on data for beneficiaries who had been diagnosed and treated for a condition, and were registered on a ch...

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