Most South Africans consider medical aid to be a major grudge purchase. Customers cite low value for money and having to deal with complicated rules, exclusions and co-payments as the main causes for their discontent. Perhaps they just don't know about the rewards yet.
In the latest SA Consumer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for medical aids, it was revealed how happy consumers are with the top medical schemes. The Index offers impartial insight into the industry by measuring customer expectations, the perceived quality and perceived value to achieve an overall score out of 100.
Overall, the medical schemes industry holds one of the lowest satisfaction scores when compared to other SAcsi surveys. Industry premiums and customer expectations have both increased, which is no doubt a contributing factor.
So, one of the aspects which helps consumers decide which medical scheme to go for is the reward program attached to it. What extras or benefits are you receiving? South Africans are increasingly considering these when comparing medical aid schemes between companies.
We took a look at the top three medical schemes in SA to see what they're offering.
Discovery's Vitality rewards subscribers for living well by encouraging them to exercise frequently, eat clean and undergo regular health checks.
Single Member – R239
Member +1 – R289
Member +2 – R329
You begin at the Blue level, and you're then encouraged to work your way up through the levels by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and meeting various fitness goals. Every time you do something healthy you earn Vitality points. The more Vitality points you have, the more you increase your Vitality status.
At every status level, you get to enjoy different rewards. At 10 000 points, you move up to Bronze. 30 000 points takes you up to Silver. At 45 000 points, you reach Gold status. And finally if you maintain Gold status for three years in a row, you get Diamond status.
Every year, your points reset to zero – motivating you to maintain a good lifestyle each and every year – but luckily the status you end the year with will be carried over.
Depending on the status you're on, you'll earn a certain percentage of discounts when paying for things like flights, car hire or accommodation. The percentage of discount allocated to each level is as follows:
By meeting your weekly and monthly fitness goals set by Vitality Active, you'll also be given cash back rewards and free goods. This includes up to 100% off on gym memberships, fitness gear or flights
Momentum's Multiply also aims to encourage you to make the right choices in working toward a healthier lifestyle. The wellness program rewards you for every move you make to improve your life.
There are three different programs to choose from. These are:
Starter – Free with any Momentum product.
Provider – Starting at R76 per month.
Premier – Starting at R221 per month.
Like Vitality, Multiply awards points every time you take action to improve your physical or financial wellbeing. The Provider program has three levels – Level 1, 2 and 3 – while the Premier program is more similar to Vitality with Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Private Club.
Each status level awards better and better rewards, such as discounts from a huge list of partners. These partners include gyms, airlines, security companies, tech, retailers, office equipment, accommodation and much more. With the Premier option, you also receive significant discounts and cash back rewards on Momentum products.
Members of Reality receive special offers on selected Sanlam products and are rewarded for financially responsible behaviour. With numerous discounts offered, you can also save money on travel, entertainment or wellness expenses.
Just like the aforementioned programs from Discovery and Momentum, Reality members earn points to climb in levels. The higher your tier status is, the bigger the discounts on certain benefits. You can earn tier points for activities in four categories. These are portfolio, managing your risk, programme and online wealth.
There are four different packages to choose from to suit your lifestyle. These are:
Reality Club – R39 p/m single option.
Reality Cor– R80 p/m single option and R115 p/m family option.
(Sanlam, Glacier, Santam) Reality Plus – R180 p/m single option and R230 p/m family option.
(FedHealth, Nedgroup, Barloworld) Reality Health – R180 p/m single option and R230 p/m family option.
All options give you double the cover with Sanlam Gap Cover from day one, free tax return assistance with TaxTim and the ability to draft an online will and store it at Sanlam for free.
These reward programs are commonly designed to encourage us to lead active, healthy lives. So, it's a win-win situation for everybody. If we lead healthier lives, it's good for us and for the medical aid companies. Healthier members make for fewer claims.
As an employer who offers medical aid to employees, you also stand to benefit. Healthier employees mean fewer sick days, better attendance and in the end, this helps your bottom line.
Many of the benefits involved, as you have no doubt noticed, are to encourage fitness. Gym memberships can be incredibly expensive, so these rewards or discounts certainly go a long way toward living a healthier lifestyle.
There are also a number of additional discounts and rewards offered, related to travel, shopping, entertainment or assisting with a healthy diet. If the rewards and incentives are the deciding factor in which medical aid scheme you go with, you'll have to go through each very carefully.
Signing up with the right one could be all you need to kick-start a new and healthy lifestyle.