by Xolile Bhengu (Financial Mail)
Is the medical scheme industry shrinking?
We have 105 registered schemes compared to over 150 in 2005, but this is not a sign of the end of medical schemes. Current mergers and consolidation are a combined effort by medical schemes to become more viable, efficient and effective in future.
What measures are there to protect members from the results of consolidation?
There are consolidation guidelines to ensure member benefits are not compromised as a result of mergers. If taken too far, consolidation threatens competition and can result in an oligopoly. Competition in the industry maintains the benefit for members.
What is the most pressing issue?
Cost containment is my current key focus. I am not convinced that investment in new technology is the cause of rising costs. Investment in technology, especially for large schemes, should be improving efficiency and contributing to a reduction in costs.
Is the medical scheme 25% solvency ratio requirement not part of the problem?
Schemes would argue that to have reserves of 25% does not work as a model, but at the moment it has been the most reliable method to protect the finances of medical schemes and their members.
Is the requirement for schemes to pay prescribed minimum benefits (PMB) in full not a contributor to increased costs?
Read the full interview with the ~uwCouncil for Medical Schemes registrar Monwabisi Gantshor#www.fm.co.za/Article.aspx?id=139563~