2021 Outlook from the desk of the CEO

During a year when the whole world was bracing itself for the worst and our everyday lives were inundated with statistics about infections and mortality, our role in the health and wellbeing of our employees and members became apparent. We needed to adapt quickly to the changes the COVID-19 pandemic brought on and remain agile as the situation constantly evolved. It was a period of change, learning, growth, innovation and more importantly taking care of the health of the Scheme, members, and employees. Like most entities, we were challenged by the situation but because of our strong financial position, loyal partners, and strong organisational culture we came out victorious.

Working from home, Bestmed employees did exceptionally well to maintain and even enhance the level of service to our beneficiaries. We implemented additional benefits for our members, e.g., funding of hand-sanitiser from their over-the-counter benefit. We informed our members that we would cover COVID related costs, even before this became mandatory. We enabled and encouraged our members to utilise teleconsultations with their healthcare providers. We highlighted our contactless service channels and our twice a week claims payments continued, providing much needed liquidity to our healthcare providers and members.

A few months into 2021 and COVID-19 continues to challenge the country and our members are not spared. As of 1 May 2021, 80 820 COVID-19 tests have been funded, 10 508 of which were positive. Of the 10 508 who were positive, 2 479 beneficiaries had been admitted to hospital for COVID-19 complications alone and sadly 541 of these beneficiaries passed away.

In terms of financials, we performed extremely well for the year 2020. Our solvency ratio increased to 47.29% (2019: 35.43%) and net surplus to R877.9 million, a R528.3 million increase from 2019. Although the lower claims performance during 2020 contributed to our great results for the year, Bestmed’s performance has been improving steadily over the past few years. This is the main reason why we were able to increase our contributions by an average of 4% which is the lowest in our recent history. As a mutual and non-profit organisation, we take pride in knowing that this good financial performance goes towards enhancing benefits for members whilst also keeping current and future contributions competitive. If there is anything that COVID-19 has taught us, it is that we can never be too complacent, lest we face another crisis.

According to the Council for Medical Schemes’ (CMS’) quarterly report of 30 September 2020 the industry’s, specifically open schemes, overall membership declined during 2020. Despite this shrinkage in the industry Bestmed managed to grow its principal members and remains the fourth largest open scheme and the largest self-administered open scheme in the country.

2020 has been an incredible year full of challenges and lessons alike. It was a year of introspection, revaluations and stress testing one’s plans. It gave Bestmed the opportunity to reaffirm its strategic drivers with an emphasis on operational excellence and superlative member experience. We participated in the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SA-csi) and were found to be best performing scheme in the ‘Perceived Quality’, ‘Perceived Value’, ‘Loyalty’ and ‘Overall Customer Satisfaction’ categories in the 2020. We came second only in the ‘Customer Expectations’ category of the index. It is also significant that the Scheme’s beneficiary complaints were the lowest in the industry. Bestmed also ranked number one in the Medical Aid Industry performance category of the 2020 Ask Afrika Orange Index®. We then went on to win the Board of Health Funders’ 6th annual Titanium Awards Excellence in Creating Access to Quality Healthcare (Organisations) award.

Our culture survey with Afriforte called Organisational Human Factor Benchmark (OHFB) also revealed that our heartbeats are happy. Bestmed was declared the top company on the Afriforte database (since 2005) with the BEST staff functioning and workplace support in South Africa in 2020.

We are proud to have stayed true to our promise during these challenging and uncertain times, responding not only to the needs of our beneficiaries, but also that of our healthcare providers, employees and underprivileged members of the community. We celebrate the achievements which we acknowledge could not have been possible without the support of our members, employees and service providers. This year we will continue to reinvent and actively reposition Bestmed to achieve high growth and exceptional service delivery. We will continue to live out our Personally Yours brand promise.

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