By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawi medical insurance industry has a new and first of its kind scheme that guarantees cash back on underutilized monthly contributions at the end of the year.
This is being offered by new kid on the block, Wella Medical Aid Society (WEMAS), that is owned 100% by Wella Holdings Limited and started its operations on 1st April 2020.
WEMAS was launched in Zomba on Tuesday and Chief Executive Officer MacDonald Wella said their objective is to professionally manage an attractive medical insurance scheme.
The cash back is under the scheme, Medical Savings Plan (MSP), which works the same way as a bank savings account and as a cash account it is strictly for payment of hospital bills as outpatients.
“The member uses this money for their medical expenses and if a member claims less than 50% of the cash allocated to their MSP, they are allowed to withdraw the remainder on the 50% at the end of the year,” Wella said.
“We are the only health insurance service provider which pays cash back to members in MSP.
“We are also specialists in the provision of administration services to organisations which run their own in-house medical schemes. The in-house schemes will benefit from the expertise of our staff and our proven systems in the provision of medical services.
“Our products are very unique and we are always proud to offer highly differentiated products and services on the market.
“We started our operations with the sole goal of complementing what other medical insurance are doing on the market” he said.
Other products and services are Pensioners Medical Scheme; Gap Cover; Corporate Medical Scheme as well as Family Medical Scheme and all these have funeral expenses cover of K500,000 up to K1 million.
The Pensioners Medical Scheme provides medical benefits for people who are above 55 years old and it also includes a generous free funeral cover benefit.
“The Pensioners have access to the best hospitals in Malawi to ensure a better life during their Golden Years,” Wella told journalists who graced the event.
“The Gap Cover is designed for those people who are members of other medical schemes which make them pay shortfalls at the point of service.
“This product pays for the shortfall while their medical scheme pays for the main hospital bill. This ensures that 100% of the medical bill will be covered and the member pays nothing at the point of service.”
The Family Scheme range of products are designed to give cover to the family as a unit. They pay one premium and they have a common benefit pool from which each member taps for their medical treatment all the year round.
The Corporate Scheme is also group of products designed for corporate employees.
These two group schemes have three covers, Mtende, Moyo and ThanziPlus.
Mtenje is the highest cover within the Corporate/Family range in which members pay monthly premiums and they are given outstanding medical benefits and that 50% of their monthly premiums is allocated to their Medical Savings Plan from which their out-patient benefits will be paid and this money can be used for medication as they wish.
Moyo is the middle cover in which members are given medium range benefits and also 50% of their monthly premiums is allocated to their Medical Savings Plan from which their out-patient benefits will be paid.
ThanziPlus is the economy cover and also 50% of monthly premiums is allocated to Medical Savings Plan for their out-patient benefits.
Another unique innovation is rewarding its members for staying fit if they don’t get ill and didn’t make any claims for medical cover.
“We emphasize on healthy living for our members by introducing deliberate incentives for members to stay healthy by rewarding for staying fit and healthy throughout the year.
“We give members a lot of control on how they use their benefits. Using MSP, members can decide how much to allocate to their out-patient benefits and they decide how to use that amount,” Wella said.
Currently, members are able to access WEMAS services in over 70 health service providers across the country that include Mwaiwathu Hospital, Blantyre Adventist, Masm Medi Clinics, Adventist Health Centre (Lilongwe), Lilongwe Private Clinic, City Centre Clinic, Shifa Hospital, Malmed (Blantyre, Ginnery Corner, Zomba), ABC Community Hospital as well as Likuni Mission Hospital.
In the case that a patient has been referred to a specialist hospital out Malawi, WEMAS shall only pay the medical bills there while the patients shall meet transportation and accommodation expenses there.
WEMAS’ head office is located in European Business Centres Building Opposite area 3 in Lilongwe and its branch is in Trade Fair grounds in Blantyre.