Message from the Chief Executive and Principal Officer
Without doubt, the past year has been one of the most difficult for our country and its people with the building, construction, and mining industries, served by BCIMA, being among the hardest hit by the economic hardships and job losses that followed in the wake of COVID-19.
Like so many other South Africans, many of our members faced retrenchment, as economic hardships pushed their employers to the brink with many having to close or downsize their businesses.
Notwithstanding these difficult circumstances, the Building and Construction Industry Medical Aid Fund (BCIMA) has continued to grow its membership by more than 5%. I believe this serves as a tremendous endorsement of the value the fund provides to its members in a difficult economic climate.
BCIMA - Built to last
Despite the challenges faced by both the building and healthcare sectors, BCIMA is in a financially strong position to continue providing its members with all important medical scheme cover, and most critically, honour all their claims well into the future.
During the past financial year, the scheme achieved a solvency ratio of over 119%, which is more than 10% higher than that of the previous financial year while building a surplus of more than R50 million.
The fund continues to demonstrate that a highly innovative and well-managed medical scheme can find solutions to ensure the provision of benefits that are not only affordable, but also meaningful to those who rely on them. This not only makes BCIMA the ideal partner to the sector and its employees, but we believe the scheme also sets an example to the healthcare industry regarding how medical cover can be successfully provided to all South Africans. We therefore maintain the view that the scheme is a notable forerunner to the NHI.
Marketing in a difficult environment
While social distancing during the past 16 months meant that many of our clients could not work from their offices it also meant that roadshows, presentations, and personal meetings had to fall by the wayside.
In the place of these more traditional marketing methods the scheme focused its efforts on stepping up its marketing, public relations, general communication, and social media activities. This included the revamping of the BCIMA website, which now includes more lively and engaging content. The scheme also implemented an enhanced communications campaign with clients and members and an active publicity campaign, which included the publication of articles in industry specific media.
In addition, BCIMA also established and built a social media presence via platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn with YouTube to follow.
We're doing it for our members
Over the past five years, contribution increases have remained consistently low within BCIMA, and we work hard to keep it this way. In fact, over the last several years, BCIMA has had some of the lowest annual increases on a consistent basis, and 2021 was no exception with the scheme keeping contribution rate increases to a low 4,5%.
The value that BCIMA provides is widely acknowledged in the industry, with the Fund enjoying considerable support from various associations, such as the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry, the Master Builders Association of South Africa, the Master Builders Association North, and the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors. It is also the preferred medical scheme for a number of unions, including the Building, Construction and Allied Workers Union, the National Union of Mine Workers, and the Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers.
These organisations represent a large number of contractors and employers in the construction sector. They also provide a range of services to members of the industry such as on-going training, legal services, labour relations, building codes and standards, and regulatory compliance matters that favourably impact the sector and its people.
Having the support of industry bodies and unions as well as a number of companies and employer groups is what sets BCIMA apart as the de facto medical scheme of choice for the building, construction and engineering industries.
Into the future
A major advantage that BCIMA has historically had over other medical schemes in South Africa is that it is designed to be more affordable than the average medical scheme. The Registrar of Medical Schemes has therefore granted it exemption in respect of the provision of Prescribed Minimum Benefits [PMBs]. Notwithstanding this exemption, the fund does cover PMB treatments in line with the member’s annual limits.
The average BCIMA member is 36 years old, and the pensioner ratio is currently only 2,85%, which means that members are generally young and healthy. In addition, the building and construction industry is excellent at monitoring the health of their contract workers when they are working on a particular project. This all assists the scheme to provide low cost but high value benefits, while remaining highly sustainable.
BCIMA has established a record of service excellence, prompt payments and efficient service delivery to the employees of the building and construction sector. The scheme ensures that every healthcare rand is wisely spent, and members can count on having easy access to effective and efficient healthcare services at affordable rates.
Healthcare is a national asset that is pivotal to the economic sustainability of SA. As one of the oldest medical schemes in South Africa, BCIMA is proud of the role it continues to play in broadening access to healthcare for South Africans and we hope that our experience imparts helpful learnings to the greater healthcare sector ahead of the implementation of NHI.
- Phumelele Makatini
CEO & Principal Officer