Mortality Trends in South Africa

By Nick van Burick, Nicole Kriek, Zane Heyl, Alwyn Hanekom, Jannus Redelinghuys. Introduction Core to the successful operation and management of the life insurance industry is the protection of clients and their dependents in the event of the untimely death and/or disability of loved ones. In South Africa, the industry has proven that it can protect clients whilst remaining financially and actuarially sound by meeting its obligation despite record high levels of death and illness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog considers the mortality trends from the mortality claims statistics released by the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA), as [...]

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covid reinfections 2021

Covid-19 Reinfections

By Craig Getz. How often have you heard someone state that they have previously been infected with Covid-19 and that they no longer need to concern themselves with the virus? Many people believe that their previous infection is a guarantee of long-lasting immunity. This article explores whether this belief is well-founded based on observable data. Simply put, are previously infected people immune to reinfection or serious reinfections? Insight consults to a broad spectrum of medical schemes, who collect extensive data on the number of diagnosed Covid-19 infections and the hospital admissions and deaths resulting from these infections. By virtue of this [...]

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data-security

Building data security resilience

By Faheem Suban. We had the pleasure of hosting our third Foresight event of 2021 with “Reimagine, Rethink and Rebuild” as the theme. Topics included considering changes in wellness and activity levels since Covid, the possible impacts of Long Covid and we also explored a refocus on data security in order to build data resilience. When building resilience in data security, one must bear in mind that complacency is the enemy. Complacency has been described as “the kiss of death”, and this description remains apt for reflecting on data security practices given rapid changes in technology which require data security practices to [...]

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Rethinking Alternative Reimbursement Models

Rethinking Alternative Reimbursement Models

By Poonam Doolabh. We had the pleasure of hosting our second Foresight dialogues event of 2021 with “Reimagine, Rethink and Rebuild” as the theme. Topics included considering the benefits of glucose control monitoring, considering the recovery of elective care, and rethinking alternative reimbursement models (“ARMs”). See details on our Foresight events here Rethinking Alternative Reimbursement Models South Africa’s predominantly fee-for-service environment requires the rebuilding of solutions to align incentives. While many of us are aware of the role ARMs can play in correcting this, little action is implemented in this domain. By aligning financial incentives, providers and funders can prioritise high-quality, cost-effective care to improve patient outcomes [...]

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Insight-Scientific-Nutrition

Can Nutrition Be More Scientific?

By Gary Kantor. Mini-HTA #1 This is the first in a series of short articles about newer health technologies and their application. We call these “mini-HTAs” (HTA: Health Technology Assessment). We take a snapshot of new technologies, give a glimpse of the underlying science, and suggest how to evaluate the safety, effectiveness, cost, and impact. The science around nutrition has long been problematic. Published results go in all directions, some highly improbable (e.g. eat a handful of nuts each day and live 39% longer), with every nutrient (coffee, fat, alcohol, grain, gluten, fibre, you name it) associated in at least one study [...]

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Unpacking the unintended consequences of the recent CMS Undesirable Business Practice Declaration

The recent CMS Undesirable Business Practice Declaration

By Craig Getz.   Unpacking the unintended consequences of the recent CMS Undesirable Business Practice Declaration In a recent Undesirable Business Practice Declaration published in Circular 24 of 2021 and gazetted in Government Gazette No 44469 on 23 April 2021, the Council for Medical Schemes announced that certain restrictions would apply to co-payments that medical schemes will be allowed to levy when a member voluntarily chooses not to make use of a network hospital, pharmacy or doctor. As Craig Getz explains in his blog post below, the consequences of this may not be in the best interest of medical scheme beneficiaries – [...]

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long covid research

Patients can tell us more about the long-term effects of Covid-19.

By Gareth Kantor.   Most research has focused on the acute effects of Covid-19, including the devastating burden of severe disease, hospitalization and death that has resulted. But a significant number of patients experience a variety of long-term effects, troublesome symptoms that reduce quality of life, even after only a mild Covid-19 illness.  10-20% of Covid-19 patients report one or more persistent symptoms 2 months later1,2,3, an increasing concern for them, for clinicians and for health system administrators. This chronic illness has become known as “Long Covid” (LC). “Activist” patients4 have played an important role bringing it to public attention but [...]

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Give patients a voice.

By Gareth Kantor.     In South Africa, “ask a friend” or a family member is often how we choose a doctor and judge a hospital. This is because we usually trust our friends and family, share personal values and appreciate their perspective. Is there a way to more systematically obtain and reliably distil the “wisdom of crowds” to assess health care?  Increasingly, the answer is yes. Although asking a friend isn’t always best, the measurement of patient experience and patient-reported outcomes is a valid method for assessing the performance of health care systems and is becoming the norm around the world.  Asking patients doesn’t [...]

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covid 19

Covid-19 conundrums and considerations.

By Insight Actuaries & Consultants Adapted from an article written for the SA Actuary magazine Written in June, published in July and updated for this blog dated 10 August 2020   The novel Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which is the causative agent of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) has been a pandemic of several kinds. First the epidemiological kind, as declared by the WHO on 11 March 2020, but also a pandemic of data visualisation dashboards, projection models, sensational news and strong opinions. It has been a polarising wedge in politics, society, and even the actuarial profession where we are not shy [...]

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Global reactions to Covid-19, a brief overview.

By Insight Actuaries & Consultants As Covid-19 has spread around the world countries have adopted a wide range of varying mitigation policies for the pandemic. Country performance in dealing with the spread and resulting mortality from the disease varies widely, and so lessons can be learned from considering the different policy choices made. What seems clear is that acting early and strongly makes a difference, as does the ability to rapidly scale health system and surveillance capabilities. These short country specific discussions will be updated from time to time as the pandemic matures and more countries will be added for additional [...]

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