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Since its introduction in the South African private health insurance industry in 1992, Discovery Health has had a huge impact on the market. Today it is the largest medical aid operating in South Africa, with a membership of more than 2,5 million – equal to 40% of the market.
Discovery Health is managed by the administrator company, Discovery Health Medical Scheme, which also manages 12 other medical schemes. Discovery Health has become a major player in the provision of health care in the country, and has pioneered several innovations in health insurance, such as a medical savings program and a wellness program.
Part of a larger financial services family
Discovery Health is part of the larger Discovery Holdings (Ltd), which also includes Discovery Life, Discovery Vitality and Discovery Card, and emerging branches such as Discovery Invest and Discovery Insure. Discovery Health is the only medical scheme in South Africa with an AA+ rating from Global Credit Ratings for its claims paying ability, and in February 2012 the company again posted strong results for the six months ending December 2011, with an increase in profits of 10%, exceeding expectations. Discovery Health was voted the top medical aid brand in South Africa in the 2011 Sunday Times Top Brands survey. Through different partnerships, the Discovery Group also operates in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and China and has indeed become a global player.
Catering for a variety of health insurance needs
Discovery Health offers 19 different medical cover plans, from Executive Plan and the KeyCare Series catering to the high-income end of the market to the Core Series at the low-income end. You can download the Discovery Health Plan Comparison if you click here – this brochure gives a summary of the benefits, limits and member contributions of the different plans for easy comparison.
All plans offer the benefits of chronic medicine for chronic diseases, preventive screenings, and hospitalisation for confirmed admissions with no overall limits for hospital cover. All members have unrestricted access to HIV, oncology and renal programmes.
A network of service providers
A unique feature of Discovery Health is that six years ago it introduced a network of hospitals, general practitioners and specialists. Members receive full cover for participants in the network, and these practitioners also benefit through a direct payment arrangement with Discovery Health. Although this development was initially challenged by the medical fraternity, today 80% of practitioners are part of the Discovery Health network and it has been emulated by other medical schemes as a cost containment measure.
Promoting a healthy lifestyle
Members of Discovery Health can opt to join Discovery Vitality, a wellness programme that rewards members for living a healthy lifestyle. Through Vitality, members have access to free health checks, receive discounts at certain health and fitness partners and earn points through various healthy activities. They receive cash back on healthy foods and other health products and enjoy discounts on gym memberships and travel that encourage a healthy lifestyle. The more you do to know about your health and improve it, the more Discovery Vitality will reward you. In this way the programme promotes a healthier lifestyle.