If you are paying a late joiner penalty (LJP), you might be overpaying (here is how you can check). We have investigated how each scheme handles the penalty and have found some irregularities.
So far, we have laid formal complaints with the Council of Medical Schemes against Bestmed, Commed and Genesis. In each of these cases, the schemes are at the very least misrepresenting how the Late Joiner Penalty is calculated. At worst, they might be overcharging their late joiner members.
We have also spoken to a lot of our site users, some of whom are members of schemes which explain the Late Joiner Penalty perfectly, and who were still overpaying on the LJP. Why? Mostly due to incorrect advice from their brokers. In some cases, we have seen written proof of this ill-advice. In others, we have spoken to brokers ourselves and confirmed that they misunderstand the LJP and are thus misinforming their clients. The overcharge is almost definitely not malicious. Brokers would rarely get extra commission for “selling” you a LJP, and if they do it would probably be less than R20/month. There is little incentive in brokers “forcing” an illegal LJP on you, since they would surely prefer that you spend the same amount of money but for a better plan (without the LJP).
This is serious. If a member is paying a 50% penalty but should only be paying a 25% one, they could be overpaying by thousands a month. Once again, we have seen proof that this does in fact happen. Someone who is overpaying R500pm is overpaying by R6,000 per year.
It is difficult to measure the extent of the problem, but we are willing to try. If you are paying a Late Joiner Penalty, please chat to us. We want to know what scheme you are on (regardless of whether it is open or closed), and if your LJP is accurate. If it’s not accurate, we would like to know whose error this is. You can stay anonymous if you wish, but in any case we will not reveal your personal details to anyone.
What will this accomplish? For starters, it will help us identify other schemes who are misinforming their members. It will help us determine if the three schemes that we have already identified as having misinformed their applicants (Bestmed, Commed, Genesis) are in fact following through on their own bad advice and are overcharging.
If you wish, you can also tell us about any brokers who are misleading their clients.
And if you suspect you are overpaying your LJP, or just want to check, we have a handy page here.
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