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What is a Medical Savings Account?

An MSA is a benefit account established in the name of the principal member concerned

How is the Medical Savings Account calculated?

The MSA is calculated using a fixed percentage of the total contribution.

What is paid for from a Medical Savings Account?

Medical expenses for out-of-hospital services are paid from an MSA if available on the chosen option.

When do Medical Savings Account funds become available?

These funds are available from the beginning of the year or prorated if the Scheme was joined during the year.

Do all Bestmed plan options have a Medical Savings Account?

No, not all plan options have a Medical Savings Account. The Rhythm and Beat1 options do not include a Medical Savings Account.

Why do I have specified day-to-day benefits if I have a Medical Savings Account?

You first utilise the Medical Savings Account. Once it is depleted, you will have access to your day-to-day benefits on specific plan options.

What happens when my Medical Savings Account runs out?

On Beat4, Pace1, Pace2 and Pace3 your day-to-day benefits will become available.

Can I use the money in the Medical Savings Account to fund co-payments?

No, the MSA does not fund co-payments.

Do I lose the money if I don’t use it?

No, you don’t lose it. It becomes a part of the following year's savings or will be added to your vested savings, depending on your benefit option.

Do I earn interest on the money in my Medical Savings Account?

Yes. The Scheme allocates the net interest received on Medical Savings Account invested funds to members with positive savings balances.

What if I never use my Medical Savings Account?

The money will be transferred for you to use the following year. If you resign your membership with Bestmed and choose not to join another scheme, or if you join a scheme without a savings option, the money will be paid to you. If you join a scheme with a savings account, the money will be transferred into the new scheme's medical savings account if a principal member joins another scheme with an MSA option.

What is vested savings?

Vested savings are accumulated savings from previous years.

What is paid from vested savings?

Members may request payment of services such as co-payments, certain excluded medicine items and fees above Scheme tariff to be paid from their vested savings, depending on their benefit option.

May vested savings be used to pay for additional benefits?

Yes. Members may apply to the Scheme to use their vested savings to pay for additional benefits, such as tinted glasses.

What may not be paid from vested savings?

Costs relating to PMB services, or the self-payment gap, cannot be paid from vested savings.

How do I access vested savings?

Members can give permission to pay for claims from the vested savings account. Some claims are automatically paid from vested savings.

What happens if a member terminates their Scheme membership?

The principal member will receive the balance of funds, including interest earned.

What is a co-payment?

A co-payment is the portion of a claim payable by the member directly to the healthcare provider.

When do co-payments apply?

  • If medicine is prescribed/selected for the treatment of a CDL, PMB or non–CDL condition and is not listed on the formulary
  • If the prescribed/selected medicine costs more than the Mediscor Reference Price (MRP)
  • A formulary co-payment on non-CDL conditions is applicable, depending on the chosen plan option
  • When the provider charges a higher dispensing fee than what the Scheme reimburses

Please note that according to the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), co-payments may not be deducted from your savings account or vested savings account or reimbursed to you. The co–payment percentage varies according to the different benefit options. The table below highlights the different co–payments applicable per Scheme option for the CDL, PMB and non–CDL conditions:

BENEFIT Non-formulary co-payment for CDL and PMB medicine Formulary co-payment for Non-CDL conditions Non-formulary co-payment for Non-CDL conditions
BEAT1 / BEAT1 N 30% N/A N/A
BEAT2 / BEAT2 N 40%
BEAT3 / BEAT3 N 40% 20%
BEAT4 30% 10% 25%
PACE 1 35% 10% 30%
PACE 2 30% 10% 25%
PACE 3 25% 10% 20%
PACE4 20%
10% 15%



Alcohol and substance abuse care

Bestmed has contracted with various Designated Service Providers (DSPs) to provide rehabilitation for alcohol and substance abuse. Please note that this benefit is subject to pre-authorisation and will be funded up to a maximum limit or a duration of 21 days whichever is depleted first.

Back and neck preventative care programme

The back and neck preventative programme’s goal is to assist members with chronic back and/or neck pain and to improve the clinical state of the back and/or neck to prevent surgery. Documented Based Care (DBC) and Workability facilities are Bestmed’s contracted healthcare providers for this programme. 

Beat range

The Beat range offers flexible hospital benefits on all Beat options with limited savings to pay for out-of-hospital expenses on some options such as Beat2 and Beat-3, but extensive out-of-hospital cover on Beat4. 

Biological and other high-cost medicine

Biological and other high-cost medicines are derived from a living source, for example interferon treatment for advanced melanoma.

Chronic Disease List (CDL)

The Chronic Disease List (CDL) provides cover for the 27 listed chronic conditions for which medical schemes must cover the diagnosis, medical management and medicines as published by the Council for Medical Schemes.

Clicks Direct, Dis-Chem Direct & Medipost Courier

These pharmacies are the preferred providers for rendering HIV/AIDS related services and post-exposure prophylaxis in the case of sexual assault.


Concluding the state of pregnancy, from contractions to birth of the child.

Contracted tariff / Contracted payment

The contracted tariff is the tariff as approved by the Board of Trustees and contractually agreed with service providers.


The quantity and frequency depend on the product up to the maximum allowed amount. Mirena device – 1 device every 5 years. All contraceptive benefits are limited to R2550 per female beneficiary, per year and includes all items classified in the category of female contraceptives.



This is an amount that you need to pay towards a healthcare service which is not covered by the Scheme. The amount can vary by the type of covered healthcare service, place of service or if the amount the service provider charges is higher than the rate the Scheme pays.

CT scan

Computed tomography. A type of diagnostic imaging, using rotating x-rays and computers to create cross-sectional images of the soft tissues inside your body, bones and blood vessels.

Day-to-day benefit

Day-to-day refers to the amounts available for the payment of medical expenses incurred outside the hospital environment.

DSPs (designated service providers)

Specific groups of providers with the Scheme to render specified services at an agreed rate. They are healthcare providers that are considered the preferred choice for members’ healthcare needs specifically related to PMB conditions.

Diabetes and diabetes mellitus

Diabetes is a chronic, lifelong condition that affects your body’s ability to use the energy provided by food. Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease where the pancreas either does not produce any or enough insulin, which causes an excess of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Insulin is the hormone that assists your body cells to use glucose as energy for it to function properly.


Dialysis care

Members who require chronic dialysis for end-stage renal disease can register on the dialysis programme. Depending on clinical and other parameters, the Scheme will consider funding for peritoneal or haemodialysis. Certain medicines, which are used in end-stage renal disease, are only covered when the Scheme funding guidelines are met. Bestmed has appointed National Renal Care (NRC) as designated service provider (DSP) for renal dialysis services for its members on all the benefit options.


Discipline cover

If a specific hospital in the DSP hospital network cannot render a specific service, a hospital that can render the service in a 50km radius will be a preferred provider.

Efficient discounted option (EDO)

This is a network option for which a member can apply for a decreased premium. The member sacrifices freedom of choice, should they apply for this option. This means that the member can make use of certain hospitals and specialists. A member will receive fewer savings if they choose this option. A member can only make use of Life Health Care, NHN, Medi-Clinic Hospitals, as well as specialists that are contracted to these hospitals. Day-to-day benefits remain the same applies on the Beat3 option. An EDO option is applicable on the Beat1, Beat2 and Beat3 options.


Endoscopic investigation

Endoscopy is an invasive diagnostic medical procedure that is used to assess the interior surface of an organ by inserting a tube with a camera in the body. Examples: gastroscopy, colonoscopy, cystoscopy.

Europ Assistance/International travel cover

Bestmed members between the ages of 3 months and 86 years have access to R3 million in international travel cover through Europ Assistance for all destinations excluding the USA. Destinations within the USA have a limit of R500 000 per family. This policy provides cover for up to a maximum of 45 (forty-five) days in the USA and 90 (ninety) days worldwide per trip, irrespective of how many flights are made during the year. It is essential that members familiarise themselves with the policy wording to ensure that they are familiar with all the terms and conditions of the policy.

Exclusions and PMBs

Medical schemes are entitled to exclude specific services/events e.g., cosmetic surgery, travel costs and examinations for insurance purposes etc.


A formulary is a list of medicines we will cover, according to Scheme rules, for treatment of the listed chronic conditions per option. 

FP (Family practitioner)

Commonly known as a general practitioner (GP). 

Functional prosthesis

Items utilised towards treating or supporting a bodily function.

General hospital

A hospital that does not specialise in the treatment of a particular service. A hospital that can render the service in a 50km radius will be a preferred provider.

General waiting periods and exclusions

If a member has a general three-month waiting period, they are able to apply for CDL and PMB benefits. If a member has a twelve (12) month condition-specific waiting period, the member cannot claim for any services related to that condition for a period of twelve (12) months. If a member has a three months PMB waiting period, they cannot claim for any benefits for the period of those three (3) months.


Geographic cover

The locations or geographic area related to a case where there is no hospital that belongs to the specific DSP group hospital. Another hospital will be listed as the preferred hospital.

Gross monthly income

Means the applicant’s gross monthly income before any deductions. Only applicants whose monthly income is less than the highest income category must provide proof of income. Applies to Rhythm benefit options.


HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a sexually transmitted infection. It can also be spread by contact with infected blood, or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding. Without medicine it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point where you have full-blown AIDS. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By affecting your immune system, this virus interferes with your body’s ability to fight organisms that cause infection and other diseases.

ICD-10 Code

It is a diagnosis code, indicating the sickness condition for which treatment is being received and is, therefore, compulsory on all medicine applications and prescriptions.

ICON (Independent Clinical Oncology Network)

ICON Managed Care is a provider-driven oncology managed care organisation that represents a significant number of the private practising oncologists in South Africa. The ICON Network comprises of radiotherapy facilities and accredited chemotherapy facilities across South Africa.

Lens enhancements

Ophthalmic lens enhancements are additional lens technologies that can be added to a standard ophthalmic lens to improve the functionality and/or durability of the lens. Examples are tints, hard coating and anti-flex coating. 


Bestmed has appointed LifeSense managed care to host our HIV/AIDS disease management programme. LifeSense has an excellent track record for managing and providing comprehensive management programmes for HIV/AIDS. They have ensured that members on the LifeSense programme remain clinically healthy, lead a productive life and stay active in their community.


The limit is the maximum benefit amount, which is paid for a specific service, apparatus, or appliance.


Member (single)

M +

Member and beneficiaries/dependants

Major medical benefits

Major medical benefits include hospitalisation, PMB and trauma recovery. Co-payments and sub-limits may be applicable in some cases.


A mammogram is the process of examining a human breast and is used as a diagnostic and a screening tool. 

Maternity care

Pregnant members and dependants have access to the Maternity care programme. The programme provides comprehensive information and services and was designed with the needs of expectant parents and their support network in mind.

Mediscor Reference Price (MRP)

A generic reference price is a maximum set price a medical Scheme is prepared to pay for a specific generic molecule for a specific dosage. Bestmed uses the (MRP) as its reference. This allows the prescriber and the member a choice if they want to use a specific brand for whichever reason. This means that a member may use the original medicine and pay the difference between the price of the chosen medicine and the applicable reference price (thus pay a generic co-payment). Alternatively, the member can use a generic alternative within the reference price range and pay no generic co-payment.


MRI scan

Magnetic resonance imaging. A type of diagnostic imaging, using a large magnet and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed, cross-sectional images of your internal organs and tissues.

National Renal Care

Members requiring chronic dialysis for renal failure can register on the Dialysis programme. Depending on clinical and other parameters, the Scheme will consider funding for peritoneal or hemodialysis. Certain medicines that are used in end-stage renal failure are only covered when the Scheme funding guidelines are met. Bestmed has appointed National Renal Care (NRC) as designated service provider (DSP) for renal dialysis services for members on all the benefit options.

Network benefit option

Network options offer benefits to members in collaboration with a medical provider network. In the case of the Rhythm and Beat EDO benefit options, day-to-day services are rendered by a network of general providers registered and contracted with Bestmed.

Network providers

Contracted providers with the same scheme to render services for specific network options and benefits. Members are restricted to make use of these providers.

Non-chronic disease list (Non-CDL)

These are additional chronic conditions which may be covered by Bestmed, depending on your selected option. It is NOT compulsory for Bestmed to fund treatment of these conditions. Refer to our website at www.bestmed.co.za for the list of conditions covered per option.


Oncology is the branch of medical science dealing with cancer, including the origin, development, diagnosis and treatment of malignant neoplasms of solid organs, non-solid organs and systems in the body.

Over the counter

Medicine that can be obtained from a pharmacy without a prescription, known as self-medication.

Overall annual limit

This means that benefits for services rendered during a year are subjected to an overall annual maximum benefit amount and various sub-limits, where applicable.

Pace range

The Pace range offers comprehensive hospital benefits from Scheme benefits, and additional savings and benefits to cover extensive out-of-hospital expenses. The options in this category are Pace1, Pace2, Pace3 and Pace4. 

Pap smear

A papanicolaou test (pap smear), also known as a cervical smear, is a quick, painless test used to detect early cell changes in the neck of the womb, which may later progress to cancer.

Per year

Per year means from 1 January to 31 December of a year. Should a beneficiary enroll within a financial year, benefit amounts will be pro-rated according to the remaining number of months of the year.

PET scan

Position emission tomography scan.

Pharmaceutical benefit management (PBM)

PBM is the management of medicine benefits for Bestmed members, while ensuring easy access to medicines for all members. The Bestmed medicine programme is managed by qualified pharmacists supported by clinical staff, who ensure that appropriate, cost-effective and quality treatment is provided to all members according to Scheme rules and defined benefits.

Pooled per year

Benefit available per beneficiary is combined and the total benefit is then available to any member of the family.


Pre-authorisation means benefits for a service must be authorised before it is rendered.

Preferred Provider Negotiators (PPN)/Optical benefit

PPN will be solely responsible for the optical benefits, claims and payment queries for all our options, excluding Beat1 and 2 options, and as such all calls should be directed to PPN. It is essential that PPN handle the entire process to avoid any confusion by the members. 

Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs)

Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs) are a set of minimum benefits which, by law, must be provided to all medical scheme members and include the provision of diagnosis, treatment and costs of ongoing care.

Preventative care

Preventative care provides for the benefits of selected out-of-hospital services. Benefits will contribute to protecting the good health of members. Preventative care is important in making sure you detect medical conditions early and so that we can ensure the best care for you in this regard. Bestmed offers preventative care, which covers a number of benefits from the Scheme’s risk benefit and not your savings. General and option-specific exclusions may apply to the various options. Please refer to www.bestmed.co.za for more details.



The term is used to refer to scans that are used to diagnose a medical condition.

Registered nurse

Nursing at home by a visiting registered nurse and wound dressings provided at home are only considered under specific clinical circumstances, usually in lieu of hospitalisation and funded from the general risk pool. Private nursing/specialised wound care will be considered on an individual basis. These services must be rendered by a registered nurse with the South African Nursing Council and the private nurse must have a BHF practice number to claim for the service provided.


Rehabilitation services after trauma

Aimed at the recovery of impeded vital functions immediately after trauma, such as stroke or heart attack.

Rhythm range

The Rhythm range offers full hospital benefits with out-of-hospital benefits provided by designated network providers only. This range has two options: Rhythm1 and Rhythm 2.

Savings account

The savings account contribution is a fixed monthly amount, which is included in the member’s monthly contribution. The credit facility is immediately available at enrolment. 

Scheme tariff

Scheme tariff is the tariff for service as approved by Board of Trustees.

South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA)

SAHPRA is tasked with regulating (monitoring, evaluating, investigating, inspecting and registering) all health products. This includes clinical trials, complementary medicines, medical devices and in vitro diagnostics (IVDs). Furthermore, SAHPRA has the added responsibility of overseeing radiation control in South Africa. SAHPRA’s mandate is outlined in the Medicines and Related Substances Act (Act 101 of 1965 as amended), as well as the Hazardous Substances Act (Act 15 of 1973).



Sub-acute care is provided on an inpatient basis to those individuals needing services that are more intensive than those typically received in skilled nursing facilities, but less intensive than admission in acute hospital care facilities (previously Step-Down facilities). Sub-acute units tend to be housed in skilled nursing facilities or in skilled nursing units.

Supplementary services

Service includes occupational therapy, speech therapy, dietitians, chiropody, masseurs, biokinetics etc.

Take-home medication

Applicable medicine dispensed on prescription to take out of the hospital on the day of discharge and related to the reason for admission.

Tariff code

It is a description code, indicating the service rendered for a treatment being received and is, therefore, compulsory on all claims or treatment applications. A tariff code is used to give a description of services rendered by a FP in their rooms or in hospital.

Tempo wellness programme

Tempo is our health and wellness programme that assists members in leading a healthier lifestyle and living their best lives. It is a package of benefits and offerings, which gives members access to expert healthcare professionals. Their advice and assistance will help members understand their health risks and improve their quality of life. The Tempo wellness programme is focused on supporting you on your path to improving your health and realising the rewards that come with it.


Treatment plan

For every CDL and PMB chronic condition, where medicine is approved, a basic treatment is available. The treatment plan differs from condition to condition and can include the following services: consultations, pathology and diagnostic imaging. For each approved service, on the treatment plan, there is a maximum quantity allowed per year at specified interval periods over a 12-month period. The services in the treatment plan will be paid from the applicable day-to-day limit first. Once the limit is depleted, claims will continue to be paid from Scheme risk, up to the maximum quantity specified in the treatment plan. The treatment plan allocations are reset in January every year. 

Types of benefits

In-hospital benefits: Accommodation, take-home medication, treatment in mental health and chemical and substance abuse clinics, consultations and procedures, surgical procedures and anaesthetic, organ transplants, supplementary services, confinements etc.

Out-of-hospital benefits: FPs and specialists, diabetes primary care, basic and specialised dentistry, apparatus like hearing aids, supplementary services, wound care, optometry, basic and specialised radiology, rehabilitation after trauma, HIV/AIDS, oncology, medicine (CDL and non-CDL, OTC, biologicals.

Preventative benefits: Flu, pneumonia, HPV, HIB vaccines, paediatric immunisations, female contraceptives, Back and neck rehabilitation programmes, preventative dentistry, mammogram, pap smear, PSA screenings.


Wound care

Specialised wound care therapy, including dressings and negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) treatment and related nursing services are included in Bestmed’s provider network. Practice number is required to claim for the service provided.