Article provided by Bonitas Medical Fund
We talk to Lee Callakoppen, Principal Officer of Bonitas Medical Fund, about the Scheme and what it offers in terms of quality healthcare
What we do
Bonitas Medical Fund is an open medical scheme registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act. The Scheme has been around for 40 years – long enough to have developed a rich heritage and a solid understanding of the private healthcare industry in South Africa. We are also the 2nd largest open medical Scheme in the country.
Our team of experts is always looking for innovative ways to ensure our members enjoy affordable, quality healthcare, whether it’s keeping our fingers on the pulse of technology, managing our members care, identifying lifestyle diseases before they become chronic or negotiating preferred rates for our members.
Who are our members?
Our members are from all walks of life – they are go-getting entrepreneurs, SMMEs, chief executive officers, newlyweds, young couples with children, retirees and minimum wage earners. They are South Africans who need peace of mind when it comes to healthcare.
It’s our 40th birthday
Bonitas has been part of the South African private healthcare landscape for 40 years. Over the four decades we have evolved and expanded our capabilities in response to the needs of our growing membership base. We have a B-BBEE level 8 rating and are committed to transformation of the healthcare industry.
Our core business
Our mantra is: ‘The Medical Aid for South Africa’ and this underpins all we do. This includes finding innovative solutions to help reduce the cost of private healthcare without compromising on quality. We put our members first when we negotiate rates and source reputable service providers. We do not believe in one-size-fits-all and adjust our wide range of benefit options every year, while keeping it simple and user-friendly.
Bonitas’ priority is to make quality healthcare more accessible and more affordable, while ensuring financial sustainability and longevity of the Scheme.
How we achieve this
We offer a wide range of plans – 15 in total – that are simple and easy to understand. We also have the largest GP network in South Africa, a specialist network and a host of supplementary benefits, paid from risk. Our Managed Care programmes include cover for chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, back and neck problems and mental health. This allows members to derive real value for money and stretch their benefits as far as possible.
Our members are at the heart of our interactions and we actively strive to find ways to provide them with more value.
The Benefit Booster
This year we introduced the Benefit Booster – which was added to all our plans (excluding BonCap) and ranges from R940 to R2 730 depending on the plan. We believe it is the largest increase in benefits ever seen in the medical aid industry as the Scheme is providing members with R446 million worth of additional benefits.
This benefit was even added to our hospital plans, which don’t traditionally cover out of hospital expenses – so it really provides more value to members. This Benefit Booster can be used to cover:
- GP and specialist consultations
- Acute and over-the-counter medicine
- Biokineticist and physiotherapist consultations and treatment
- Paramedical services such as dietician, speech and occupational therapy consultations and treatment
- Alternative healthcare such as homeopathic consultations and treatment and acupuncture non-surgical procedures and tests e.g., wart removal
- Blood tests
All members need to do to tap into the Benefit Booster is to complete a wellness assessment (which can be done online). Claims will pay from this benefit first – helping to preserve savings and day-to-day benefits for members.
AMP’ed for optimal health
A new, personalised, wellness and lifestyle programme AMP, is now available on the Bonitas app and allows members to access their health information. Biometric data, claims and wearable data are used to regularly update their health score while an avatar nudges them on the best steps to boost their health. In addition, through a partnership with Avo by Nedbank, members can do life differently with great deals across groceries, tech, professional home services, takeaways, prepaids and so much more.
Prevention is definitely better than cure – especially when it comes to health. Our preventative care benefit helps detect serious illnesses early so that the necessary steps can be implemented to stay healthy. These include flu vaccines, HIV tests, lipograms, mammograms, pap smears, prostrate screening, pneumococcal vaccines, bone density screening and stool tests for colon cancer.
We have a wide range of plans to suit everyone
We know everyone has different healthcare needs and because we believe ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ we offer members a choice of cover from 15 plans – in five categories – which include:
- Traditional options
- Savings options
- Hospital options
- Network options
- Newly introduced Edge Options
Helping you choose what’s best for you and your family
Brokers are a great resource for anyone looking at getting onto a medical aid scheme or changing plans/Schemes. They are accredited by both the medical scheme and the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) so are well qualified to offer advice and support. There is no additional charge for members using a broker.
Our relationship with our members
Connecting with our members remains a focus area and much has been done to enhance our digital capabilities to improve our members’ experience. The new member zone on the website is proving to be popular, with members able to track their health history, payments and medicine prescriptions. Technology is evolving constantly and we need to adapt and be nimble to make things simpler and more efficient.
There is a Bonitas Members App, a Whatsapp line – this simple, reliable platform gives members another self-service channel to access their medical aid information and get in touch with us. We also produce a quarterly magazine and offer regular updates and information via SMS, Facebook and Linked in.
At the outset of the pandemic, we created an informative and educational COVID-19 Hub as a reliable source of information to help educate and empower our members about the coronavirus. The information on the Hub includes helping identify symptoms, providing guidelines on how and where to be tested and receive treatment.
As new scientific data becomes available, we continue to update the Hub which is accessible to everyone on www.bonitas.co.za/covid. Current information includes dispelling myths around the vaccine, highlighting safety protocols, the different type of COVID-19 tests and explaining the difference between COVID-19, the common cold and flu. One of the key elements is the comprehensive guide to recovering from COVID-19, which includes tips for caregivers, the do’s and don’ts of COVID-19 recovery, as well as post-COVID care tips.
The future of healthcare is likely to revolve around preventative care and sustaining well-being, as opposed to responding to illness. It will see everyone involved in the healthcare industry being more agile and adapting to the ever-changing needs of all role players: Providers, members, local government/the Department of Health, through to the procurement of equipment, medicine supply management, use of day surgeries and acute hospitals as well as alternative reimbursement models.
To retain and grow membership and remain sustainable, we must be innovative and find ways to evolve the healthcare offering. Our strategy is to continue to focus on affordability and quality healthcare but also address primary healthcare and preventative care.
Technology enables us to connect with members. Our goal is to improve integration of care, enable more access to out-of-hospital services, clinical information and benefits via various solutions.