Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vitality. Is it vital?

Question. What does everyone out there (South Africans) think of Vitality? We've just joined. Got our super cheap gym, earning points like crazy. Blah. Blah.

What do you think? Marketing gimmick? Or a real loyalty programme based on a healthly lifestyle?


Bongi said...

not good. if you want good medical cover get a good medical aid. if you want to gym, join a gym. that medical aid spends so much on gimmics, they do not like to pay for what they are supposed to be paying.

you now have a gym membership, but do you have a medical aid. being a health care provider, i'm not sure.

Andy Hadfield said...

dunno hey... gym almost R300 / month depending on membership type. You reckon Discovery load their fees by R300/month. doubt it. means i'm scoring. i think!

Bongi said...

You are scoring. Just don't get sick. Once again as a health care provider i think you have the worst possible medical aid. Personal opinion.

Bongi said...

also it doesn't have so much to do with them loading their fees (although they do), but to do with the fact that they don't pay service providers as a medical aid should. they must save somewhere and it's not in marketing. in our neck of the woods there are a number of doctors that will refuse to see patients from your medical aid if they don't pay cash up front.

i recently had to send one of my patients to a gastro guy for an ercp of slightly questionable repute because this medical aid wouldn't pay the hospital where the best gastro guys work. patient suffers.

the little medic said...

what is vitality?

Andy Hadfield said...

Vitality is an addon to Discovery Medical Aid where for like R70/month you get REALLY cheap gym, discounts etc. Like a loyalty programme - you earn points for doing stuff that is health related (being non-smoker, taking surveys, going to gym)...

SA Doc said...

ok. I suppose it's my turn to put my two cents worth since I now work for a managed care company.

Many medical aids/medical insurance companies offer loyalty programs that reward healthy behaviour, but since Discovery is the biggest, and everyone knows them, I will use them in the example.

Programs like Vitality are not part of your medical aid fee and are billed for separately and are run separately. The benefit for the medical scheme is that they have a bit of influence over healthy behaviour which is, of course, a benefit to the scheme.

Less people chronically ill = less money spent on chronic illness = more money can be allocated to other interventions, like certain operations, more high tech equipment etc, etc.

I say "allocated" because thats what administration companies like medscheme, discovery health etc. do. They manage the money in the scheme (the contributions you pay) according to regulations from the council of medical schemes and ensure that there is good allocation of resources to cover all members nomatter what may happen. (heaven forbid a train/plane accident puts half the members into ICU - the scheme will go bankrupt).

In terms of sending patients to certain doctors and hospitals (again, not unique to discovey) it is about what product they bought to cover their health.

You cannot buy a VW beetle and expect to have a BMW mechanic service it and replace the parts with BMW parts... Patients are informed bytheir brokers ( we hope) of what they are buying. If they want BMW parts and services, then they need to by the correct cover.

Bongi said...

your medical aid pays a nice kickback to the broker. that's why he tells you it is good. once again, from a service provider, you have the worst possible medical aid and you are paying probably more than you would with almost any other medical aid. where i come from the anaesthetists do not accept your medical aid. you pay and you can claim back later. to deal with them is just too terrible. i and my two associated still accept patients from your medical aid, but we have had discussions about not doing it any more. i know of at least one surgeon in this area who won't see patients on your medical aid unless they pay cash.

loyalty programms etc are fine. that's why i said you're getting a far as gym is concerned. i doubt you are even getting your money's worth as far as medical aids are concerned.

so if you visit, don't get into an accident. or change medical aids.