The shaky economic climate characterised by high inflation and interest rates and a fluctuating kwacha exchange rate has not spared any sector of the economy in terms of its ripple effects. The health sector is no exception.
As a consequence of this economic environment, Medical Aid Society of Malawi (Masm) members in thousands will have no choice but to dig deeper into their pockets to pay monthly subscription fees following an average 23 percent upward revision of contribution rates in all the categories.
Masm chief executive officer Sydney Chikoti said the health insurance scheme’s board resolved to adjust the rates to “ensure sustainability of the society’s activities in view of developments in the economy in general and health sector in particular”.
Following the raise, contribution on econoplan scheme has jumped by 20 percent to K1 800 from K1 500, executive is now at K5 200 from K4 200 whereas for those on executive with dependants less than 18 years old, the contribution is now at K5 000 from K4 200, a 19 percent increase.
In the executive scheme category for members above 55 years, the rates have gone up to K9 800 from K7 000, a 40 percent jump, and has also jumped to the same amount from K7 500 for the VIP category.
However, the VIP with dependents of less than 18 years, the contribution is now at K8 200, a 21 percent jump from K6 500 while VIP for those above 55 years, the contributors will have to fork out K13 500 from K10 320, a 30 percent jump.
Chikoti said the board has further approved annual limits as follows; econoplan K750 000, executive and those with dependents below 18 years and for older people K4 million while VIP and those with dependents below 18 years and for older people, it is at K10 million.
“We encourage members to take keen interest in claims paid on their behalf to ensure the society pays for annual treatment obtained. This will assist in minimising costs to the society and ensure minimal future contribution rate increases,” he said.
Chikoti said through this, Masm guarantees continued provision of quality and improved healthcare services to its members.
In the same vein, Masm has also revised dental tariffs by 25 percent with sub-limits revised on econoplan to K30 000, executive scheme K100 000 and VIP scheme K250 000.
Masm has, however, admitted that the charges will cause a strain on the resources of the society, and has urged all practitioners to practise and act professionally in assisting Masm to reduce costs.
Masm has been posting losses since 2008 due to, among others, the hostile economic environment, governance issues, stagnation in numbers and non-performance of medi-clinics.
At its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in Blantyre last week, Masm board chairperson Evans Matabwa bemoaned the stagnation in membership, but assured that they have put in place strategies to reverse the trend.
He said Masm will be looking beyond corporates for membership by wooing individual members, farmers and other groups, promising aggressiveness on their in-house schemes.