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THE PREVALENCE of chronic and lifestyle diseases, more people opting to give birth through caesarean section and the increased use of new, expensive technology is driving up the cost of health care, according ,to a prominent medical aid.

Escalating the problem is unhealthy lifestyle choices.

“What we are finding in the Industry is that more people are getting sick by lifestyle diseases. People smoking, drinking but not exercising,” said Medscheme managing director Kevin Aron yesterday.

Treating such patients was, expensive; as once they were diagnosed they were likely to be on medication permanently.

“Our research reflects that punitive measures have not worked elsewhere in the world. It is our view that information-sharing with beneficiaries and their doctors is a more effective strategy to improve health,” Aron said.

Another problem for medical aid schemes was the “above-inflation” rates charged by hospitals. While not advocating the “over-regulation” of private hospitals, some form of regulation would help to moderate prices, he said.


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