- Pricipal Officer: “We were offering good COVID-19 packages and it was a medical emergency.”
Pula Medcial Aid Fund experienced a rise in membership during the COVID-19 period rather than cancellations and surrenders, the company’s Principal Officer, Khumoetsile Mapitse, has said.
Speaking at a media engagement in Mogobane recently, Mapitse said Pulamed experienced growth in membership in the course of the past few years.
“The increase was twofold,” he said. “We were offering good COVID-19 packages and it was a medical emergency. Everyone’s priority was to be on medical aid.” However, Mapitse noted that while this does not mean there were no surrenders, there was a net growth generally. Coming from the pandemic, he added, Pulamed is now moving into preventative care because of a rise in non-communicable diseases.
“Non-communicable diseases have been on the rise and are responsible for most of our healthcare claims,” he said. Mapitse emphasised they now want to promote and encourage their members to go into wellness activities and look after themselves better. “We don’t want to lose our members,” he said. “We want them to be healthy because that would also help to manage and reduce healthcare costs at the same time.
“When healthcare costs are managed, it means there is less pressure on the member to increase their premium because the healthcare claims are much lower.” According to Mapitse, Pulamed has been moving in this direction for the past few years. The medical aid fund was was established in 1991 around the same time when private hospitals started and private healthcare grew in importance.
“Pulamed was formed mainly to defray costs,” Mapitse said. “The arrangement was for members to pool their money together and fund a healthcare intervention for any member at a time of their need.” He added that Pulamed has been growing steadily over the years and because of its self-marketing products. “That is how are membership has been steadily growing over the years and we realise we have to be out there much more than before,” Mapitse said.