Savings will not be enough to cover Covid-19 costs

20 May 2019

Discovery Health estimated COVID-19 would cost the medical schemes industry R7.3-bn to R31-bn.

Medical schemes are required by law to keep 25% of their annual contribution income in reserve to buffer them against health crises such as Covid-19, but not all schemes meet this solvency threshold.

The fall in hospital admissions among Discovery Health clients is broadly in line with analysis by 3ONE Consulting Actuaries, which found a 30% reduction in claims in April compared with 2019, among six of its client schemes. It declined to name the schemes, but said they were three open and three restricted schemes, with about 250 000 beneficiaries.

Discovery Health has so far seen 1 733 members of its client schemes diagnosed with COVID-19, 824 of them in the Western Cape, and 37 deaths. There have been 412 hospital admissions, including 79 admissions to intensive care units, and 39 patients had required ventilators. The average cost incurred by a ventilated patient was R340 000.