Bestmed provides oncology benefits, through an Oncology care programme which deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Oncology is a branch of medicine which deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. A medical professional who practices oncology is an oncologist.
Types of cancer:
Bestmed’s various healthcare options have specified benefits that define the cover for cancer. These benefits are called oncology benefits.
Bestmed provides oncology benefits, applying evidence-based medicine principles and considering affordability across the different benefit options.
We have appointed the Independent Clinical Oncology Network (ICON) as designated service provider (DSP) for oncology care for all our healthcare options. Members on Pace3 and Pace4 have access to the enhanced ICON protocols where it‘s clinically appropriate, whilst the other options have access to the standard ICON protocols.
Members registered on the oncology programme qualify for cancer benefits. Members must forward a clinical summary and histology of their cancer, as set out by their treating doctor, to register on the programme. This must contain the history, ICD–10 codes, the clinical findings of the doctor, as well as the test results confirming the cancer and the specific type of cancer.
Biological medicines are derived from a living source, for example interferon treatment for advanced melanoma. Biological and other high-cost medicines are limited to the following amounts:
Biological benefits allocated per option
Please refer to the oncology benefits table for a detailed description.
A range of scans and blood tests is approved from the available scan and pathology benefits and PMBs where clinically appropriate depending on the type of cancer you are registered for. A group of specific services, directly related to the specific type of cancer, are authorised for payment. This may include basic radiology (such as sonars or black-and-white X-rays) or blood tests (such as liver function tests and blood counts). Pre-authorisation for scans and additional tests are required before they are done. Your doctor can confirm if the tariff codes for these scans and tests are funded before proceeding with these services. CT scans, PET scans and nuclear scans will be considered for funding from available benefit/PMBs if they are on a PMB level of care and clinically appropriate.
Breast reconstruction may be considered for funding only after a mastectomy for breast cancer on the cancerous breast. Bestmed will consider funding the symmetrising surgery of the unaffected breast on the Pace2, Pace3, Pace4 and Pulse2 options, with motivation from the doctor, dependent on the cost of the procedure, up to a maximum of R36 750 where appropriate and pre-authorised. Hospital authorisation must be obtained from the pre-authorisation department for approval, subject to funding protocols and guidelines. After a mastectomy a member may apply for a breast prosthesis that is inserted into her bra to provide shape where the breast used to be. A doctor’s motivation and quotation may be sent to the Scheme. Only the prosthetic insert may be funded from the appliance benefit and not the special bra.
Yes. Bestmed will fund this if the member is registered for the oncology programme and the consultation was related to the cancer. As oncologists specialise in the treatment of cancer the oncology benefit makes provision for funding of oncologist consultations. Certain specialist visits may be funded from the oncology benefit depending on the type of cancer you are registered for. For example, urologists for bladder cancer, dermatologists for skin cancer, etc. Always confirm benefits before assuming that a consultation will be funded from the oncology benefit.
Hospice authorisation will be considered by the hospital pre-authorisation department. Palliative care is funded at 100% Scheme tariff. Subject to specific limits per option and pre-authorisation and DSPs.
The requested treatment needs to be pre-authorised and will be considered as a PMB if clinically appropriate.
Cancer (malignant tumours and malignant haematological/blood conditions) confirmed by a laboratory report will qualify for registration on the oncology programme. Normally a tissue sample is collected during a biopsy procedure and sent for evaluation by pathologists. The findings of the diagnosis will be noted on a histology report. Benign tumours and premalignant conditions don’t qualify for funding on the oncology programme. The diagnosis (ICD-10) code for cancer usually starts with a “C” and may be included in the oncology benefit. Codes for benign conditions mostly start with a “D” and are not funded from the oncology benefit as they are not cancerous.
Oncology benefits are funded up to 100% of the Bestmed Scheme tariff. If a non-DSP (thus non-ICON) doctor charges more than the Scheme tariff you will have to pay the difference.
Bestmed provides oncology benefits applying evidence-based medicine principles and considering affordability to the different benefit options. Treatment plans may not be approved for several different reasons, including the following:
No. The oncology benefit does not make provision for the funding of wigs and related items.
No. Oncology benefits are limited to patients who have already been diagnosed with cancer and are registered on the oncology programme.
The request will need to go through the pre-authorisation process and will be considered if clinically appropriate. Please note: The tests will only be authorised if they have the potential to influence the treatment of the diagnosed cancer.
The oncology benefit provides funding for chemotherapy and radiotherapy – treatment directly linked to treating and minimising the progression of the cancer itself. Bestmed makes use of formularies for certain additional supportive medicines (for nausea, pain, inflammation, etc.). Medicines which are excluded from the oncology benefit include anti-depressants, proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux, sleeping tablets, anti-anxiety medicines, etc.
Certain services/procedures are excluded from oncology benefits, including (but not limited to) the following:
There is no limit for appropriate and in protocol pathology and consultations. Biologicals and other high cost medicine, where this treatment is not PMB level of care, can be excluded or limited to the available benefit per Scheme option.
Biologicals and other high cost medicine, where this treatment is not PMB level of care, will be limited to the available benefit per Scheme option. Bestmed also applies a generic Mediscor reference price (MRP) which applies to medicines with generic alternatives. To access the extended oncology benefit, can I upgrade my plan option? Yes, with appropriate motivation upgrade may be approved on request.
Yes, these are evaluated case by case, based on evidence-based principles.
Yes, your registration on the oncology programme never lapses.