With more above-inflation medical scheme tariff increases on the horizon for 2017, many consumers have been left bewildered by the escalating costs of medical care. Most feel powerless in the face of double-digit increases such as Discovery Health’s 10.2% contributions hike, Momentum Health’s average hike of 11% and Government Employees Medical Scheme’s (GEMS’s) increases ranging from 13% to 16.8%. These increases are coming at the same time that the South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (Sasa) is seeing a consistent below-inflation increase for healthcare practitioners and an erosion of their payments. It is becoming harder for practitioners to provide services and harder for the consumer to afford the cover. Practitioners are being short-changed by the rising costs. Consumers are being paid different amounts by their medical schemes depending on which doctor they go to. These, and other, issues are compounded in the absence of a collective consumer body as there is not a pro...

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