Can you afford to get sick? Co

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Can you afford to get sick? Comparing medical aid prices in 2021

Here’s how the biggest open medical aid schemes compare in South Africa after various schemes announced their new contribution fees for 2021.

Can you afford to get sick? Co

Image: Canva

Discovery Health Medical Scheme recently announced the details of their medical aid packages for 2021, which will come into effect this July.

This comes after Discovery decided to freeze contribution prices in 2020 and the first half of 2021 due to financial pressures amid the coronavirus pandemic and national lockdowns.

2021 medical aid contribution increase

Now, come July, prices will be increasing – with the scheme promising to keep adjustments under CPI+2%.

According to BusinessTech, Discovery announced that fees will be increasing by 5.9% across all plans. Given the 0% increase for the first half of the year, Discovery said this works out to a weighted increase of 3% for 2021.

Weighted average increases across medical aids for 2021 were in line with recommendations from the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) – including 3.9% and 4.6% for Momentum Health and Bonitas, respectively.

The CMS called for companies to implement a freeze where possible, and if not possible, it recommended that increases be capped at 3.9%, in line with inflation.

“Accordingly, certain schemes may need to increase their contribution to mitigate against the risk of high-cost claims and subsequent reserves erosion,” it said at the time. “In cases where schemes are unable to freeze their contribution increase for 2021, CMS recommends that schemes should limit their increases to 3.9% in line with CPI.”


At Discovery, the primary member will pay R7 688 on the Executive Plan from July 2021, after paying R7 257 in 2020. Other options look like this:


PlanJan – Jun 2020Jul – Dec 2021% change
Classic ComprehensiveR5 954R6 3095.9%
Classic Delta ComprehensiveR5 362R5 6815.9%
Essential ComprehensiveR5 003R5 3015.9%
Essential Delta ComprehensiveR4 507R4 7755.9%
Classic Smart ComprehensiveR4 327R4 5855.9%


PlanJan – Jun 2020Jul – Dec 2021% change
Classic PriorityR3 814R4 0415.9%
Essential PriorityR3 278R3 4725.9%


PlanJan – Jun 2020Jul – Dec 2021% change
Classic SaverR3 290R3 4855.9%
Classic Delta SaverR2 628R2 7845.9%
Essential SaverR2 615R2 7705.9%
Essential Delta SaverR2 085R2 2095.9%
Coastal SaverR2 608R2 7635.9%


PlanJan – Jun 2020Jul – Dec 2021% change
Classic SmartR1 954R2 0705.9%
Essential SmartR1 400R1 4835.9%


PlanJan – Jun 2020Jul – Dec 2021% change
Classic CoreR2 449R2 5945.9%
Classic Delta CoreR1 960R2 0765.9%
Essential CoreR2 104R2 2295.9%
Essential Delta CoreR1 681R1 7815.9%
Coastal CoreR1 946R2 0625.9%


PlanJan – Jun 2020Jul – Dec 2021% change
KeyCare Plus 0 – 8 550R1 207R1 2795.9%
KeyCare Plus 8 551 – 13 800R1 659R1 7585.9%
KeyCare Plus 13 801+R2 450R2 5955.9%
KeyCare Core 0 – 8 550R949R1 0055.9%
KeyCare Core 8 551 – 13 800R1 183R1 2535.9%
KeyCare Core 13 801+R1 809R1 9165.9%
KeyCare Start 0 – 9 150R914R9685.9%
KeyCare Start 9 151 – 13 800R1 538R1 6295.9%
KeyCare Start 13 801+R2 394R2 5365.9%


Meanwhile, South Africa’s second-largest open medical aid scheme, Bonitas, announced a weighted increase of 4.6% across all its plans for 2021 – ranging between 0% and 7%. The only plan to see a fee freeze is the BonFit Select plan, while the more comprehensive plans see the largest increases.

Plan20202021% change
BonComprehensiveR7 207R7 7157.0%
BonClassicR5 003R5 3306.5%
BonCompleteR4 009R4 2917.0%
BonSaveR2 723R2 8474.6%
BonFit SelectR2 152R2 152
StandardR3 888R4 0444.0%
Standard SelectR3 368R3 5896.6%
PrimaryR2 429R2 5374.4%
Primary SelectR2 065R2 1805.6%
Hospital StandardR2 284R2 4346.6%
BonEssentialR1 877R1 9624.5%
BonEssential SelectR1 602R1 6754.6%
BonCap 0-8520R1 159R1 2124.6%
BonCap 8521-13840R1 372R1 4344.5%
BonCap 13841-18900R2 210R2 3114.6%
BonCap 18901+R2 714R2 8374.5%
NEW BonStartR1 452
NEW BonStart PlusR1 731


Momentum Medical Scheme is the third-largest open medical aid scheme in South Africa and announced a weighted average annual contribution increase of 3.9% for 2021.

The figures below are the starting prices, with more variety offered in each plan grouping.

Plan20202021% change
EvolveR1 294R1 3453.9%
CustomR1 642R1 7063.9%
IncentiveR2 141R2 2243.9%
ExtenderR5 033R5 2313.9%
SummitR10 187R10 6424.5%


MediHelp’s increases for the year range between 5.8% and 6.4%. The group offers networked (N) and non-networked (NN) on its Prime schemes, which offer reduce rates for using scheme-networked healthcare providers. Prices for 2021 are as follows:

Plan20202021% change
Prime 1 NR1 626R1 7225.9%
Prime 1 NNR2 082R2 2025.8%
Prime 2 NR2 160R2 2865.8%
Prime 2 NNR2 772R2 9345.8%
Prime 3 NR2 964R3 1385.9%
Prime 3 NNR3 618R3 8285.8%
UnifyR2 598R2 7485.8%
Elite ComprehensiveR5 304R5 6105.8%
Plus ComprehensiveR9 180R9 7145.8%
Necesse 0-600 (students)R598R6366.4%
Necesse 601-11000R2 208R2 3345.7%
Necesse 11001+R2 574R2 7245.8%


BestMed’s increases for the year range between 3.9% and 4.2% for some of the higher-tier packages. The group offers networked (N) and non-networked (NN) on its Beat schemes, which offer reduce rates for using scheme-networked healthcare providers. Prices for 2021 are as follows:


Plan20202021% change
Beat 1 NR1 454R1 5113.9%
Beat 1 NNR1 617R1 6803.9%
Beat 2NR1 778R1 8473.9%
Beat 2 NNR1 976R2 0533.9%
Beat 3 NR2 697R2 8054.0%
Beat 3 NNR2 997R3 1174.0%
Beat 4R4 685R4 8724.0%


Plan20202021% change
Pace 1R3 930R4 0833.9%
Pace 2R5 566R5 8004.2%
Pace 3R6 390R6 6584.2%
Pace 4R7 983R8 3184.2%


Plan20202021% change
Pulse 1 R0-R5500R1 626R1 6944.2%
Pulse 1 R5501-R8500R1 953R2 0354.2%
Pulse 1 R8501+R2 344R2 4424.2%
Pulse 2R5 770R6 0124.2%