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South African Medical Scheme Giants Thwart Co-Payments

Industry: Insurance

Discovery Health and Bonitas Medical Fund have introduced measures to slash punitive co-payments.

Cape Town, South Africa (PRUnderground) January 22nd, 2013

Two of the largest open medical schemes in South Africa, Discovery Health and Bonitas, have introduced innovative measures to slash punitive co-payments.

Members will no longer be expected to accept liability for funding shortfalls as regards hospital admissions and specialist diagnoses and treatments.

The ground breaking developments are not only targeted at assisting hard pressed consumers. Specialist health care providers will benefit from a ‘locked-in’ client base and a sizeable increase in scheme tariffs.

Discovery Health Medical Aid initiated its plan as long ago as 2007. Its aim is to secure payment arrangements with all medical specialists in South Africa. At last count the medical aid scheme giant had signed up almost 90 percent of specialists in the country.

 “We have introduced initiatives to pay specialists more, reduce gaps in members’ cover and ensure a spirit of cooperation and transparency between healthcare funder and healthcare professional,” said Neville Koopowitz, CEO of Discovery Health recently.

“At Discovery Health we firmly believe in the cornerstone role healthcare professionals play in the delivery of the high quality private healthcare available in South Africa today. We have consciously set out to take positive steps towards paying doctors more. In that process, we must also ensure that our medical scheme members are not exposed to co-payments and gaps in their cover.”

Bonitas Medical Fund implemented a Specialist Network in 2012. Its strategy is quite simple; to engage and partner with health care professionals with the aim of empowering members to access high quality health care at affordable rates.

To date, the Bonitas Specialist Network comprises over 1 800 contracted specialists in a wide range of disciplines including obstetrics and gynaecology, cardiology, neurosurgery, paediatrics and plastic and reconstructive surgery.

According to the official Bonitas website; “Participating network specialists have agreed to render their services at a negotiated rate.”

“This means the specialist network partner will bill Bonitas members at an agreed rate. The immediate benefit to members is there will be no additional co-payments or levies due for all services rendered both in and out of hospital.”

“Once a member’s benefits are depleted and their condition is one of the legislated prescribed minimum benefit conditions (PMB’s), members can be assured their condition will be covered in full with no co-payments or additional levies as long as they consult a Bonitas specialist network partner.”

To learn more about Discovery Health and Bonitas Medical Fund, to conduct a finger tip medical aid comparison or to request a medical aid quote, visit

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IFC ( are a South African medical aid guide. The online medical aid portal provides a range of free tools and services to consumers. Amongst these are the ability to review in-depth profiles of medical aid providers and their medical aid schemes. A medical aid comparison tool provides the opportunity to compare the benefits and features of specific schemes from different providers easily. A chronic conditions search engine allows users to discover which health insurance plans cover specific conditions. IFC also offer a completely free quoting service to consumers and will acquire medical aid quotes from any provider and for any scheme. The portal also lists a wide range of useful and relevant South African health insurance resources.

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