Dear Customer & Friend of NMG,
During the last week healthcare has received a great deal of attention in parliament and the press. My colleagues and I share government’s aspiration for affordable healthcare to be available to all South Africans. It is pleasing to see that medical schemes will continue to operate alongside the proposed National Health Insurance and that brokers will continue to feature in this environment. However, we respectfully disagree with the Health Minister’s statements concerning the medical scheme broking industry.
The Minister asserted that intermediaries (like NMG) in the medical scheme industry “add no value”, and that many members are unaware that they are paying for our services. Every week cases come across my desk of situations where medical scheme members require advice and assistance, perhaps to navigate their way to the best coverage options offered by their schemes or employers, or to intervene on their behalf with a scheme that is slow or reluctant to pay for legitimate treatment that the member or her dependents required.
NMG is one of the largest healthcare intermediary and advisory firms in South Africa. I would hope that every one of our 1,000 corporate clients, and the vast majority (if not all) of their covered employees, are aware of the valuable role that we play. Medical scheme contributions consume vast amounts of resources from employers and employees, and it is essential that these are spent wisely, that members are aware of the choices and compromises they are making, and that the medical schemes are held to account by informed experts (i.e. us) that have the interests of their customers (i.e. you and your employees) as their only priority.
The proposed changes to healthcare laws will be getting a great deal of attention and commentary over the coming months, and NMG will participate in that process. In the meanwhile, I wanted to assure you that we will continue to bat for you and your employees in this complex, expensive industry, and we will seek to add value considerably in excess of the fees that we earn.
In this regard, NMG is shortly commencing a structured survey of our corporate clients, and I will take the opportunity of the proposed changes to the Medical Schemes Act and the implementation of National Health Insurance to insert some questions about your views of our role, and how we can improve our service and our standing. I do hope you will participate and tell us how we can better meet your needs.