In the media

Largest medical scheme amalgamation gets green light

06 October 2016

The much anticipated amalgamation between Bonitas Medical Fund (Bonitas) and LMS Medical Scheme (previously known as Liberty Medical Scheme) – the largest transaction of its kind in the SA healthcare industry - has received the stamp of approval by the Competition Commission and the Council of Medical Schemes (CMS), effective 1 October 2016.

Dr Bobby Ramasia, Principal Executive Officer for Bonitas confirms that the official notification by the CMS was received. ‘Initially our aim was to begin trading as one entity from August, however, considering the impact of the amalgamation, not only on members but the industry as a whole, it was imperative that all the regulatory process were followed. This marginally delayed the approval as everything had to be carefully considered and weighed up by the Competition Commission and CMS.’

‘However we are pleased it has now been ratified and is in the process of finalisation and all the legalities in order to begin trading. Official notification to members will be sent out shortly outlining the way forward but we’d like to reassure them that this amalgamation is in their best interests.’

The amalgamation of Bonitas and LMS follows an increasing trend within the current healthcare industry to create a stronger and more sustainable medical scheme that will provide enhanced cover and benefits for members. It was explored after the positive outcome of an initial feasibility study that provided sufficient motivation of the numerous benefits.

Bonitas, administered by Medscheme, is South Africa’s second largest open medical aid with financial indicators above the legislated requirements and industry average. It has a high claims-paying ability, in turn ensuring members’ access to quality healthcare.

The amalgamated Scheme will be stronger and more sustainable providing enhanced cover and benefits. There will be a broader national footprint and consolidation of resources and fixed costs which will assist with relieving pressure on future contribution increases.

‘With our combined years of experience we have an intricate understanding of the needs of the consumer in the complex healthcare market,’ explains Ramasia. ‘Our increased size in terms of members and national footprint, will enhance our ability to negotiate better benefits and services with healthcare providers. All in an effort to ensure our members continue to have access to affordable, quality healthcare. We don’t mince words. We call it medical aid.’

Dr Ramasia, concluded, ‘We wish to reassure members that throughout this amalgamation process, both Schemes were committed to acting in the best interest of members at all times and this is set to continue.’

Source: Insurance Gateway


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