First Mutual medical aid premiums up 35 percent

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FIRST Mutual Health is set to increase medical aid monthly contributions by 35 percent with effect from March 1, 2019, as it seeks to track spiralling drug and hospital fees.

In a letter to corporate clients dated January 29, First Mutual said it has borne too much costs in the last four months as it had to pay more to service providers, who have been arbitrarily increasing prices.

Reads the letter; “During the past four months, we have noted a significant increase in the cost of health services.

“Drug and sundry costs have gone up by over 300 percent while hospital fees have increased by at least 100 percent. The Scheme has been absorbing the costs while continuing to engage service providers in an effort to find a viable solution.

“However, we have noted that our members still face challenges with card acceptance and shortfalls.  In addition, we are cognisant of the fact that our service providers are also facing the same escalating costs and it is our desire to reimburse them in a fair and sustainable manner.

“In view of the need to continue offering service that meets your expectations, we will increase contributions by 35 percent with effect from March 1, 2019.”

Some doctors and hospitals initially rejected medical aid cards in favour of US dollars. But after Government intervention, the service providers simply pegged their charges on the parallel market rate for the US dollar.