A Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB) is a set of defined benefits to ensure that all medical scheme members have access to certain minimum health services, regardless of the benefit option they have selected. Therefore the payment for a PMB should occur whether you have a hospital plan or a top level full plan.
PMB’s are a feature of the Medical Schemes Act, 131 of 1998, in terms of which medical schemes have to cover the costs related to the diagnosis, treatment and care of:
- any emergency medical condition;
- a limited set of 270 medical conditions (defined in the Diagnosis Treatment Pairs);
- 25 chronic conditions (defined in the Chronic Disease List).
When deciding whether a condition is a PMB, the doctor should only look at the symptoms and not at any other factors, such as how the injury or condition was contracted. This approach is called diagnosis-based. Once the diagnosis has been made, the appropriate treatment and care is decided upon as well as where the patient should receive the treatment (at a hospital, as an outpatient or at a doctor’s rooms).
There are a few general rules that govern all PMB diseases. All Medical Schemes need to adhere to these rules.
- General rules for the payment of PMB’s:
- Costs related to diagnosis, treatment and care of PMB’s are not allowed to be passed through your medical savings account or day to day expense plans.
- The medical schemes are allowed to stipulate Designated Service Providers (DSP) but they have to be within a reasonable distance from your work and home.
- Treatment at a DSP will be covered in full by the medical scheme under the PMB conditions when delivered according to scheme protocols and procedures.
- Medical Schemes cannot charge a co-payment or levy for the treatment of a PMB if you have followed the schemes protocols.
It is the responsibility of each member of a Medical Scheme to empower themselves with knowledge and to know their rights.