By Fedhealth Principal Officer Jeremy Yatt
Medical aid annual contribution increases among South African medical schemes are announced each September, and this year many consumers had a rude awakening as some schemes played catch up after the smaller increases announced during the pandemic. Not only that though: some medical schemes chose to slash members’ savings in 2024 while also increasing their contributions, effectively decreasing the value consumers are getting out of their medical aid cover overall.
The net effect of this is a heightened sensitivity to healthcare costs in South Africa and huge pressure on consumers’ finances in general. I believe that if schemes don’t provide new solutions to address these issues, then they risk losing existing and potential members fast – especially those within the younger generation.
According to an international study performed by market research firm Gen HQ, 71% of Gen Z think that healthcare should be free or low-cost to everyone. While this may be an international study, it’s likely that this sentiment is shared by many young South Africans today. But up until now, young people just starting out in their careers have faced a challenge: they couldn’t afford to be without medical aid, but they couldn’t afford to pay for it either.
Under 35s are also used to running their lives online, and they crave something different to the medical aid their parents had. While the medical aid of yesteryear may be comforting and necessary for certain age groups, we knew there was also an urgent need for an affordable hospital plan that offered a fun and future-focused alternative for the under-35 digital natives.
With these needs in mind, we designed Fedhealth’s new flexiFEDSavvy option, which launched in January of this year. Our flexiFEDSavvy plan gives under-35 members full medical aid (not medical insurance) for under R1 000 per month. With this plan, they don’t only get comprehensive private hospital cover at an extensive network – they also benefit from unlimited virtual GP visits and three face-to-face consults at a network GP (paid from Risk), as well as screenings and other benefits.
The mental health crisis facing our youth is also a huge cause for concern. According to the latest UNICEF South Africa U-Report poll published in 2022, 73% of children and youth felt they needed mental health support over the past year, of which 38% – more than half – actively sought help. For this reason, we’ve placed mental health at the centre of our offerings, with our free resources like the Panda app offered to all Fedhealth members on all plan options. The app gives members virtual access to educational material, and mental health assessments and connects them with mental health experts for support.
To further complement the affordability aspect of our medical aid offerings, we’re providing two integrated products that can complement our Savvy option. Our NexGen Gap cover, designed by Sanlam, takes care of any ‘excess’ co-payments in case of planned hospital procedures at non-network hospitals and starts from just R64.90 per month for individual members.
Sanlam Primary Care, on the other hand, provides young people with some day-to-day benefits in case they need them, from only R423p/m for individual members and R317p/m for corporate members. By combining a hospital plan with a much more affordable primary care insurance plan, young members get all the cover they need in an innovative package that suits their lifestyle and needs.
We see these new offerings as a vital addition to the medical aid industry in terms of attracting younger members as well as meeting new healthcare demands in a rapidly changing world.
Want to provide your under-35 clients with smarter ways to make their money (and health) go further? Visit fedhealth.co.za or speak to a Fedhealth Broker Consultant today.