What ails medical schemes market
Premiums and profits spiral, but prognosis poor, says Discovery
As private health-care members writhe under the pressure of spiralling premiums, Dr Jonathan Broomberg, CEO of SA's largest medical insurer, Discovery Health, says the industry is facing "very significant challenges"."We are seeing the impact of the economy on growth. The medical scheme market is totally flat."Membership growth has halved in five years, and the "lapse rate" is accelerating as members struggle to pay premiums that have been rising way above the inflation rate and annual wage increases.Ageing membership, a rise in chronic diseases, new medical technology and a government-imposed anti-selection policy that allows people to join or upgrade their medical-scheme options when they've got a serious medical condition have made the increases unavoidable, he says."Anti-selection is having a huge impact." He doesn't want to be "alarmist" about it, "but there is a trend of anti-selection, and it is one of the strong drivers of the high premium inflation".Discovery commands a 5...