Martin Young
Martin Young

An open letter to Discovery’s CEO, Dr Jonny Broomberg

Dear Jonny

Thank you for coming to speak to us last week. In light of recent media exposure the prospect of meeting 20 angry doctors and specialists must have been daunting. Your DM to me that you were “looking forward to it” was a surprise, but it strikes me that you are up to any challenge.

It is appropriate to address you via an open letter because this interaction began in the realm of social media, and I believe we should continue dialogue here in the light of transparency in an industry that affects every single one of us. These issues are not purely yours or mine, but also the consumers, because ultimately every cent saved or spent comes out of their pockets. There is considerable public interest in our debate and the differences we doctors have with medical aids. Let the people be informed and let them decide.

The worst possible end result of this meeting would be a “business as usual” approach on your part, a successful executive mission to calm us, the restless workers. There is still too much anger for that, and I for one will not be placated by anything other than visible and transparent action.

There were several issues debated on the night, among them the close relationship between Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS), and Discovery Health, and the veracity of the Deloitte report, that we can agree to disagree on and put aside. They are neither here nor there, and not really worth getting into. I would however love to hear a publicly expressed and independent opinion from one of DHMS’s trustees on these issues at least once in my lifetime.

Far more important is what is and is not working in the doctor-funder relationship. It was stated very emphatically in the meeting that the real reason doctors do not like Discovery Health and DHMS is that we are coerced into signing contracts for sub-economic remuneration in order to be paid directly for our services and to avoid seeing our own patients run off with a tidy windfall in their own accounts for work we have done. You may not call it coercion, but I think we, the “coerced”, should be the judges of that. Even if the above scenario happens only once in every 20 transactions, it gets 100% of our attention.

The second obstacle is Discovery Health’s committed resistance to balanced or split billing, where doctors bill the medical aid for the amount covered by the member’s policy, but present a second account for the balance not covered by DHMS, based on the belief that this prejudices your members. While I can understand you want to avoid your members having to pay over and above their premiums, this belief is ironic in the context where your members are subjected to co-payments anyway for many procedures and treatments based on Discovery Health’s own policies and limitations. I don’t understand why the one should be acceptable and the other not?

Another problem clearly evident from our meeting is that policy made at executive level in Discovery Health is not being passed on to the lower-tier managers and case advisers who deal directly with doctors. Two cases in point — a general surgeon being asked to write a motivation for doing a mastectomy for a patient with breast cancer. As you know, in terms of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) rulings, no specialist is required to give a motivation for any treatment. Why is Discovery Health still asking? And men with painful gynaecomastia? If you say surgery in these patients is most definitely covered by DHMS, why are authorisations being refused, not just once, but time over and again? There appears to be a clear failure of corporate governance and quality control in the direct dealings with doctors and over authorisations. In other words, please treat us as professionals in accordance with the rules set by the Council for Medical Schemes and HPCSA.

There is a comfortable fourth party in this relationship — the broker who sells the medical-aid policies on your behalf — R65 a month per member is not a huge commission, but over years it mounts up, and the broker should be expected to be the person who deals with members’ medical-aid problems directly, not the doctor. So how many DHMS members know who their brokers are, considering 3 in 4 have been signed up by their employers? Agreeing with this point, as you have with me privately, is on its own not enough. Discovery Health, DHMS and brokers must be responsible for educating members so that they know the limitations of the policies they have bought and for helping them through an increasingly complex quagmire of health insurance so that doctors and patients are not stonewalled by denials of treatment. It’s not our job to do that for you.

The biggest “wow” moment from the meeting for me is information you provided, that a 10% reduction in downstream costs of patient care like unnecessary tests, medications, hospitalisations and procedures, would allow a 40% increase in members benefits without an increase in their premiums. The message is both alarming and encouraging. It suggests that there is potential to correct this situation. The problem is that the ethical and responsible doctors have no room to manoeuvre, and that your systems allow no recognition of them.

Suggestions have been offered as to a way forward. Discovery Health sits in the pound seats at the moment, a very successful and powerful company with the ability to make a positive change for health professionals and consumers to fix our industry at very little risk.

Discovery Health’s profits, a subject we did not dwell on at the meeting, at the moment suggest you do not have to do anything — the money is rolling in. Is Discovery Health committed enough to this industry to try to fix it? To take a risk or two?

The move is yours to make.

Regards

Martin

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  • 28 Responses to “An open letter to Discovery’s CEO, Dr Jonny Broomberg”

    1. Xivoni #

      What I find interesting in this and other of your writings (on twitter, etc), Martin, is that is often seems self-serving. I cannot help but get the distinct impression that your position is: “one day Discovery will come round to my position” and that that is the only winning outcome.

      Maybe I am naive in this day and age, but it always seemed to me that when I meet with other adults, I cannot possibly be so arrogant as to believe that my version of the truth is absolute and immutable? You said on twitter, in the run-up to the meeting, that you hope the Discovery execs will listen, without expressing any indication that you yourself were going there with a willingness to listen – as if the point was not to have a mature conversation, but to give you the opportunity to lecture them on their shortcomings.

      I understand that you feel strongly about this issue, but the debate (fight?) sometimes feels a bit repetitive. I am a firm believer in win-win outcomes being possible in most cases, but there are also “agree-to-disagree” scenarios. I am not involved in healthcare, nor do I understand the pressures of working as a C-level executive in a big company, so I cannot pretend to intimately understand your world, or Dr Broomberg’s. Could it be that he is trying to do what he believes is the best for his clients (as you are for yours), and that you merely disagree on how to do that? Do you believe that he is making his decisions in a morally and ethically inferior way to…

      November 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm
    2. Tofolux #

      @Martin, the discovery medical aid has robbed me of a credit reputation that I tried so hard to maintain with much discipline and responsibility on my side. With one swoop of a life threatening illness (just ONE instance) I am now rendered a credit risk. This only because while lying in a trauma unit, I had NO choice but to go to a hospital allocated by the medical aid, doctors and specialists allocated by the medical aid, medication allocated by medical aid and discharged as per the funds in my medical aid. I had NO day in any of the above matters and I was charged to the hilt. So I have absolutely no faith in this medical aid and anything they or the CEO says, they do the opposite. I ask them about chronic cover, they say oh no, you must apply but we will have to assess, but we will advise you that you choose a higher cover. This with no consideration that even with the higher cover at twice the premium, I will still be short. I am so sick and tired of this Ponzi scheme. There is no return for the money I put in and the allocation I get (classified) as savings is so minimal it doesnt cover my monthly charge. The extras I fork out, because non-one told me that there is a chronic cover option, is about R4k pm. It is just diabolical. Who-ever came up with these schemes and determined that it must be compulsory for workers to join is nothing but collusion. So while, ceo spin stories some of us will die only becos were are forced into a scheme that is a danger to us.

      November 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm
    3. michael #

      Martin, Discovery is in a constant battle with corrupt/unethical clients/ patients and medical professionals and i think that a large percentage of their clients are happy with that.You are on a hiding to nowhere.Further more the services industry suffers from a phenomenon called the cost disease of the service industry and if you find a solution to this a lot of your problems will be solved but not without some negative consequences.

      November 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm
    4. Martin Young

      Michael / Xivoni

      My ‘activism’ started in 2005 out of pure frustration :

      http://donnedwards.openaccess.co.za/2005/12/medical-doctors-opinion-of-discovery.html

      I owned up to writing this when others were accused of doing so. I don’t like being anonymous – it smacks of cowardice IMHO. The main reason I post here is to be a physician voice in social media – hence the repetition you complain about. So am I using the medium for a purpose, yes. Do I have an agenda? Absolutely.

      And Xivoni, when I presented an at then ‘unfinished’ idea for changing the dysfunctional status quo – i.e. a solution for the issues in this letter – in person to Discovery execs, Neville Koopwitz, then CEO of Discovery Health, called it the best idea he’d seen from a doctor in all his time in healthcare. Maurice Goodman, head of Health Strategy for Discovery will back me up – he was there at that meeting. “Tenuous relationship with doctors” was the reason given for not backing it then.

      In 8 years very little has changed, for all the reasons put in these and previous posts.

      I assume you don’t sit opposite people in need saying you would love to help them but you can’t because their insurance they won’t let you help them. And I assume you don’t face the financial consequences of not buying into manipulative schemes.

      Attack my message by all means – criticizing me for bringing an almost universal sentiment from my colleagues into the open is simply attacking the messenger.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm
    5. skerminkel #

      @Xivoni: I disagree. @Martin believes in his cause and arguments. He states it clearly and openly. If anyone truly believe in a cause, they state it repeatedly, not just once and then hope it reaches the proper ears.

      @Martin, please continue arguing your case. It also serves that cause of informing the public (maybe your blogs are not widely read yet, but the day will come). At some stage you should also inform your readers of the actual cost of private medical care. The ridiculous amounts spent on the final days of life, when there is really no more hope. It costs all medical aid members horrendous amounts to keep the frail and dying alive for just one more day or week. The public health system has a much more level headed approach to this.

      November 11, 2013 at 11:22 pm
    6. Cam Cameron #

      Why don’t you simply go to another service provider?

      November 12, 2013 at 9:10 am
    7. Barbra #

      I have been requesting a review of the exclusions on my Discovery life insurance for the last 6 years, based on sound helath, medical reports and statistics. Every year it is declined for no reason at all, other than stating the original condition (which has not existed for 11 years now!).
      Other companies are happy with my health, and have no exclusions, but because I am 10 years older now, it is more expensive than when I started with Discovery.
      Talk about being caught between a rock and hard place.

      November 12, 2013 at 11:29 am
    8. nguni #

      I would not have been so impressed by Broomberg’s assertion that he could increase benefits by 40% if unnecessary costs (who determines?) were dropped by 10%. If he had offered to drop the fees he charges by 40% THAT would have been impressive..
      Apropo unnecessary costs: your example of surgery for gynaecomastia comes to mind -totally unnecessary, a short course of XRT sorts out the pain.
      I wonder if any of the specialists present brought up the issue of ongoing cost savings Discovery and other med aids are experiencing due to (often forced) use of generics? In oncology (pricey biologicals) they are making a killing..

      November 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm
    9. nguni #

      @ skerminkel
      I know a lot of stage 4 cancer patients who have been kept alive with good QoL for years on various drugs. These are the patients you cheer about when the state doctor says “here’s your morphine, nothing else we can do for you because you are going to die within weeks or a few months”. They send their grateful thanks that you were not involved with a level-headed decision..

      November 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm
    10. Discovery member scheme choices:

      https://www.discovery.co.za/portal/individual/plans-overview

      ….thanks Martin, but better you doctors fight your own “coercing”, “sub economic remuneration” and “bill splitting” battle as you desire- but without my blessings!
      Doctors have a body and fall under the HPCSA which has a very high fee structure in place. Why being dissatisfied with everybody?

      Your battle is on old one dating back to 1967 when Medical Aid was first introduced and still raging on!
      http://archive.samj.org.za/1967%20VOL%20XLI%20Jul-Dec/Articles/11%20November/3.7%20MEDICAL%20SCHEMES%20ACT.pdf

      We members have neither a representative body nor are doctors genuinely interested doing it for us. Similar of you questioning the veracity of the Deloitte report- the only real insight into some of the Schemes costs presented so far!
      The “employer” of that report is not stated to evaluate its none bias.

      I am one of many “bleeding and “aggressively coerced” Discovery Members- limited for lower costs to dedicated “sub economic” service providers, doctors, hospitals and treatments! More freedom of choice has to be purchased by upgrading our Scheme- with added varying annual medical inflation increases of 8-10%- far above the normal. Probably more frustrated than you!

      http://www.bdlive.co.za/personalfinance/2013/03/24/how-to-survive-your-medical-aid

      I would like to see premiums lowered through rationalization by amalgamation of all the over 100…

      November 12, 2013 at 9:38 pm
    11. ….over 100 private open & closed schemes into one! Surely that should produce some “Economics of Scale” as referred to by Deloitte. It should become a truly none profit NG Organisation!

      Let brokers “wheel & broker” something more suitable to flog- once a sale is done the broker has no more interest and serves no purpose to a member- other than for the Schemes to further pinch members from one scheme to flog to another scheme- Members paying for it again and again! There are call centers & websites!

      One Scheme only would eliminate unnecessary & artificial competition- its none profit anyway!

      Having one Administrator using the “integrated model”- everything belongs to one “none profit private Scheme”. Outsourcing and splitting activities is just a lame excuse to export profits the smart way from the Schemes through “financial engineering”! That of course would kill the incentives for CEO’s to get involved- working without profits- a disaster! A market related salary should be good enough!

      None profit Discovery Health is too close for comfort to its profit oriented DHMS Administrators. DH is more like a Trust created for the benefit of DHMS!

      Who is canvassing for lower premiums for Members? Not the Schemes nor the Medical Administrators- the Council?
      http://www.medicalschemes.com/

      http://www.medicalschemes.com/MedicalSchemeAdministrators.aspxPortfolio Committee in Government?- for new models, rules & laws?

      Sorry Martin- but our interests…

      November 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm
    12. contin…………sorry, the previous link failed- was “overwritten accidentally” by Portfolio Committee in Government?

      http://www.medicalschemes.com/MedicalSchemeAdministrators.aspx

      http://www.hpcsa.co.za/

      Once more: sorry Martin, but Member interests differ to yours and are not represented by your crusade against DH! The Members crusade is bigger and more complicated!

      November 12, 2013 at 10:54 pm
    13. Martin Young #

      Dear Proactive

      Your suggestions are much the same as mine in many areas re brokers, profit taking etc.

      The ‘members crusade’ you speak of is essential, and that only begins when the members are informed or educated.

      Which is the whole point of this exercise.

      November 13, 2013 at 11:31 am
    14. Martin Young #

      For the record, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) does very little for doctors other than take our annual membership fees and issue Certificates of Good Standing when required.

      It is most definitely not a body representative of doctors interests, becoming more of a politically aligned organisation to serve the Minister of Health’s and ruling party’s desires.

      November 13, 2013 at 11:33 am
    15. Kgositsile Mokgosi #

      Yes it is the application of the medical aid concept itself which is flawed. Medical aids are financial services businesses. Spare me the crap about non-profitable entities. Why can’t they be confined to the financial services space? Short-term insurance covering motor vehicle accidents do not attempt to control panel beaters as to their prices or how they obtain their parts. Why do medical aids have to control doctors? Is there anyone out there who would rather have a medical aid next to him when his life is threatened rather than to have a doctor? Why then should a larger percentage of what you pay in order to get health service be sucked by a medical aid (brokers included) and not a doctor? Anyway doctors have themselves to blame. They should have fought to be managed care themselves where their organisations take the responsibility to ensure quality ethical healthcare services from their colleagues with the financial services entity paying them for such service just as they pay administrators to pay providers. When you are in business you do everything to maximise your profit the laws in this country allow for medical aids to do just that. Doctors as individuals are unable to inform the public about the value of their services and the justification of the costs of their services. Lawyers, acccnts, arcts know their worth. It remains a puzzle for me that the public is so gullible as to believe doctors’ fees to be necessarily excessive. Afterall it is the doc who gets sued

      November 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm
    16. Dear Martin,

      thank you, who than is your professional body? So far, nobody bothered to advice us who actually represents “us common 8.3 mio private Members as a collective!

      http://www.fanews.co.za/article/healthcare/6/general/1124/private-medical-schemes-in-limbo-as-nhi-looms/10638

      Let me guess than: has to be our good grass roots Minister Aaron & his Company?

      http://www.doh.gov.za/show.php?id=1633

      A Dr. Jonny is still powerful today, but unfortunately falls into the category of a neo-liberal in political terms and might already be looking out for a different assignment in the near future- who knows? Can you see the writings on the wall?
      We 8.3 mio Members have to use our political parties to be heard- not so?
      Planing & re-structuring is already underway.

      http://www.fanews.co.za/article/healthcare/6/general/1124/medical-schemes-the-muddy-truth/14691

      Why not knock on a different door?

      November 13, 2013 at 4:42 pm
    17. @ Kgositsile

      ……in the spirit of Martins wish to create informed or educated members- some clarifications to your comments:

      There is a big difference between a “Medical Aid” (none profit- not a “business”) see:

      http://discover.sabinet.co.za/webx/access/netlaw/Medical%20Schemes%20Act%20131%20of%201998.htm?wax=34a014f880ec96c0fc3513f1289662ff

      and a Medical Insurance (with profit- controlled by the FSB- it is a business) read:

      http://artu.wozaonline.co.za/Difference+between+MEDICAL+INSURANCE+and+MEDICAL+AID

      All Medical Aid schemes try to contain/control costs & fraud- not doctors as such- but their costs! Doctors are just one component of many other costs one needs if treated- like ambulances, helicopters, hospitals, medicines, special equipment like MRI scans,X-rays, nuclear medicine etc. These cost are payable by us as premium paying Members- managed by the Medical Aid on our behalf.
      The “outsourced independent Medical Administrators” costs are criticized here as being too high!

      Most short term vehicle insurers do prescribe their designated panel beaters or ask for several quotes- also to contain cost & fraud! They are a business!

      The “law of the country” prevents Medical Aids to be a business on the back of sick people! aka Act 131/1998!

      Health is an essential social responsibility/service of government to the public- funded by our taxes. Lawyers, accountants, architects etc are not.

      November 13, 2013 at 9:11 pm
    18. Martin Young #

      Proactive

      Your question “Who is the patient’s advocate in this?” is a critical one. It should be the doctor, no doubt about that. But when the doctor’s autonomy is threatened by the medical aid that advocacy is diminished. One of the biggest criticisms of managed health care is in the interference with the doctor-patient relationship. And financial considerations in a fee-for-service model always have an influence, usually bad.

      Should it not be the broker? But the majority of medical aid members have no idea who their brokers are, despite them being paid every month.

      To my knowledge there is no independent group that represents medical aid members themselves. The closest one gets to it is the group of trustees for each medical aid, but these hardly appear independent, nor accountable.

      It’s worth remembering every single one of us is a small blood clot, badly behaved cell or a reckless driver away from being long term patients in a dysfunctional system. Those who are know its failings far more than the rest of us.

      November 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm
    19. Dear Martin,

      thank you- it seems we are progressing! It would be of interest to hear the Ministers opinion. Sorry, but to seriously think or mention a “broker” would not even be my last guess and is a way out suggestion! No injury- but just as well one could guess to appoint a car guard!

      I believe your answer “it should be the doctor” has limited validity. Why?
      A doctor’s oath & responsibility is limited to health matters and his conduct towards his patients and ends there. He is neither capable nor double tasked by profession or community to take responsibility of a countries health system of ~52 mio- where a variety of models were enacted by law and approved by its representatives.

      If you wish to do this, resign as doctor and become a Dr. Jonny or Minister!

      Doctors do their work in the constrains of any system which prevails. Be it political, war like or during natural disasters. Please be reminded of the meaning and spirit of:

      …….”I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of over treatment and therapeutic nihilism” …….

      http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=20909

      Please quote me anything in the classic or modern version of the “Hippocratic Oath” about your remunerations or right to demand changes to a system which you personally consider as restrictive in fulfilling your obligations.

      November 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm
    20. Kgositsile Mokgosi #

      Dear Pro-Active, Your comment is just a regurgitation of things written by someone, you addressing the answer the question. Does healthcare need medical aids or doctors? Can there be healthcare without doctors? If a government provided adequate healthcare (obviously by employing doctors and rewarding them appropriately) would there be need for medical aid? Think properly medical aid only comes in to fund healthcare it is not healthcare. There are numerous ways in which funding can be structured that is not medical aid but there is only one way healthcare can be implemented and doctors are at the centre of that sole means of providing healthcare. Do not be fooled by the SA scenario where medical aids dominate the healthcare environment. The law may state that it is not a business but the fact that it can be manipulated to generate profits for some people means it is a business. My contention is that it is unethical to have business interest monitoring doctors for a fee when there is an HPCSA and doctors can maintain adequate standards themselves in the same way they do in academic hospitals with all the professors and consultants. If medical aids are prepared to pay unqualified institutions to monitor doctors why don’t they rather pay doctors for that function. I do not understand the assertion that med aids are advocates for patients when doctors have to tutor some of the patients about the benefits of their medical aid.

      November 17, 2013 at 10:40 pm
    21. Martin Young #

      Dear Proactive

      The moment a profession ceases to control itself or administer its own affairs, it becomes something less – perhaps more like a trade.

      The ‘struggle’ here is to maintain professional independence and autonomy, and not to cede it to the administrators who are not tied by the creeds nor the obligations of the profession itself.

      This is an issue of interest all over the world – not just in SA. Debate over healthcare closed the USA government down for two weeks – the NHS is undergoing massive and unpopular change.

      It’s not an isolated issue.

      November 18, 2013 at 9:28 am
    22. Dear Kgositsile,

      …crossed wires- annoyed? I believe my points are clear, my comments not ambiguous. Nor do i like to repeat previous statements made- they can be easily re-visited!

      We established that i am a disgruntled (Discovery) Medical Aid Member- becoming a member by choice- as the only alternate option not to depend in using a the present public health care organisation! Just a lone voice out of the over 4 mio- if one includes their dependents than ~8.3 mio!

      We have no voice, no vote nor a body who represents us. Divided and ruled. Should you think that Government’s NHI would be an option at this stage- it is not- and i abstain from commenting about that- out of obvious reasons. The present system at least works.

      I like to see our premiums payable to cover our private health care option lowered/kept in check- implying the basket of medical costs to be contained and investigated for cost reduction measures- possibly achievable through rationalization of the ~100 open and closed schemes into one as a first step!

      Where are you coming from, where is your interest and what are your solutions?

      November 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm
    23. Dear Martin,

      …your concerns are understood- but not your method! The doctors gripe you present to us is with an unresponsive HPCSA body, considered by you as colluding with business, politics and useless. Please change your own body- at least you have a body!

      Who can give us millions of Members without a representative body a voice to demand lower premium rates?

      Who is able to change or restructure the Medical Schemes Act 133/1998 in a way to prevent the ~100 mushroomed Medical Aid Schemes empowered to appoint their own “separate” Administrators from exporting profits to the detriment of us Members?

      Who can change or adapt the Health Professions Act of 53/1974 or Act 29/2007 to accommodate/change your doctors demands on your own body- your HPCSA?

      “Financial control” is an essential tool for the fair, orderly and fraud free management for the benefit of a community to safeguard its pooled funds, be it a Home Owners Association of 50 members, a Medical Aid Scheme of 4 mio or a countries taxes collected from all liable taxpayers!

      I have no further answers or suggestions to your vented problems- thank you!

      November 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm
    24. Kgositsile Mokgosi #

      Dear Proactive,
      I am one of the 50 million people who make up the citizens of this country.
      It does not sit comfortably with me that 8 million of my compatriots pay their hard earned money into financial services entities that pretend to be healthcare and a substantial portion of such money goes into the pockets of those with no clue of what is healthcare.
      It does not sit well with me that while millions are spent to train doctors these doctors are abused by the system, vilified as fraudsters, dictated to as to how and what they can give patients, how and what they should be paid.
      You are worried about how your premium can be kept away from paying doctors. You are not worried about good doctors being available and accessible when you fall ill? You must be a beneficiary of this Medical aid fraud.
      Solution: Leave healthcare to doctors.

      November 19, 2013 at 12:10 am
    25. Dear Kgositsile,

      thank you, I am glad we have something in common! In your anger you are overlooking previous points made, deviating and bordering on ranting:

      Insinuation 1): “You are worried about how your premium can be kept away from paying doctors”
      Answer: WRONG!- my least worry!

      Insinuation 2: “abused by the system, vilified as fraudsters, dictated to as to how and what they can give patients ………….”
      A): a rather emotional & exaggerated outburst! This i never encountered- “ever”- in my experience nor conveyed by any of my treating doctors! A none issue!

      Insinuation 3): “You must be a beneficiary of this Medical aid fraud”.
      A): must i assume you also believe in ghosts? How ridiculous can you get?

      “Leave healthcare to doctors”:

      yes, not an issue- and the avalanche of bills we receive from ALL providers incl. doctors- we send to which address? What provisions must we make to pay you within 30 days before receiving a summons from all health providers? Or is it free?

      Is that a voice of an overly important feeling medical practitioner, thinking the universe starts & ends with doctors only? (just a question, no insinuation!)

      We however appreciate all the remaining good doctors immensely!

      November 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm
    26. I like it whenever people get together and share views. Great blog,
      keep it up!

      December 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm
    27. Interested Party #

      I find the communication from the start of this very interesting and agree on many of the topics raised by “both sides”. However – there seems to still be serious misconception about “brokers”. I am a proud Intermediary and am most certainly not one that “just gets paid and not service clients” after the initial contact. Not everyone in the Broker fraternity is an unethical person – the FSB has and is continuously putting more stringent measures in place to ensure that all parties are treated fairly. As a “broker”, it is a challenging industry to be passionate about and having the name of those of us that do our jobs properly and take pride in our positions as service providers, be put in a “questionable” light as to the “use” of a broker, is not right – this is not something that should be generalised, as many Intermediaries are ethical business ppl that do have their clients best interests at heart.

      January 23, 2014 at 12:33 am
    28. @IP

      Rest assured, (“no injury meant”) there are no serious misconceptions about brokers! The main issue was “how best to lower premiums” & the representation of members!

      Ongoing monthly brokerage (cost to members) leveled on a non profit product but deemed ‘competitive’ by the originators of the various Schemes is an “over provision” by the schemes for “under servicing” its members.

      The necessity to use brokers- decided mostly by the ‘producers’ but paid for by ‘consumers’- sometimes for a lifetime without an option- within various section of industry is a different matter not addressed here.

      January 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm

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