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Positive impact of Covid-19 on medical aid industry

The 2020 Ask Afrika Orange Index® offers insight into consumer behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic within the local South African context. A national representative sample of 16,786 interviews with South African consumers enable a comparison of service performance across 26 industries, ranking 159 companies.

Was there an improvement at all in customer services levels in 2020, at a time where the impact of Covid-19 has been felt and experienced on many levels?

“The medical aid industry was thriving and performing above the Ask Afrika Orange Index® benchmark, displaying a positive response to the market.  Both the medical aid and pharmacy  industries as a collective showed a 14% increase in customer satisfaction, 9% for pharmacies and 4% in the medical aid industry,” according to AskAfrika.

AskAfrika reports that BestMed performed exceptionally well, winning the medical aid industry and ranking 13th overall in 2020:

  • BestMed has also outperformed competitors, with an 11% difference between BestMed and the poorest performer in the industry.
  • With a longitudinal view, BestMed has been improving their service from 2018, celebrating an 6,24% increase in satisfaction scores from 2019 – 2020.

Sarina de Beer and Dr Amelia Richards of Ask Afrika explain that key to a winner’s status is good performance on different service constructs. The Ask Afrika Orange Index® measured customer satisfaction around the following service constructs:

  • FCR – First call resolution
  • Trust
  • Customer effort
  • Fairness
  • Reputation and
  • Emotional satisfaction

“Within the medical aid industry first call resolution (FCR) remained a strength when it comes to customer service compared to emotional satisfaction, which is still a challenge for most industries and brands. BestMed shared the first place with regards to emotional satisfaction with Medihelp and in 2020 BestMed was the leader of the pack with regards to being a trusted medical advisor.”

“Being recognised as a leader in satisfaction in our industry, indicates that not only have we invested in our members’ needs but we are earning our place as a strong and competitive brand in the medical aid industry. In the past two years, we have made concerted efforts to include our stakeholders as an integral part of the business journey and receiving this award is evidence that we are well on our way to achieving this integration,”  Madelein Barkhuizen, Executive Manager: Sales and Marketing at Bestmed comments.

These results are on par with the Consulta’s South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for the local medical aid industry. Although no outright leader was identified, Bestmed (77.4), Medihelp (77.1), Discovery (76.8), and Bonitas (74.9) came in on industry par (76.1) on overall customer satisfaction scores.

“Few consumers understand, without significant counsel and advice, what they are covered for and the value of preparing for the unknown, until they experience a health crisis. The survey shows that the areas where customers (members) are least satisfied revolve around out-of-hospital costs and co-payments on primary healthcare and chronic medicine – essentially the smaller, day-to-day claims. It is this financial education and expectations gap that medical schemes must address if they are to halt the growing discontent among a significant portion of their member base who are crucial for the financial sustainability and viability of the schemes,” Ineke Prinsloo, Head of Customer Insights at Consulta explains.

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