Financial services firm, Discovery has announced a number of new insurance changes around the current Covid-19 pandemic and South Africa’s lockdown.
Hylton Kallner, Discovery South Africa chief executive officer, said that chief among these changes is a new Covid-19 risk assessment tool that will be made available to all.
“We have undertaken the analysis to create an accessible Covid-19 risk assessment tool, that will be released on the Discovery app and the website helping people to understand their risk for Covid-19, to know their health risks that increase the likelihood of hospitalisation, and access funding for testing and health monitoring for those at a high risk for compilations,” said Kallner.
He said that the assessment will look at a member’s risks compared with that of the membership base in an area.
“Members will be able to complete the assessment over time and keep track of their history. When testing is recommended, the assessment tool guides them to an online doctor consultation in a network.
“More than 6,500 members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) have consulted with their doctors online over the past couple of months, helping to contain the spread of the virus,” he said.
“What we know now is that high blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and body mass index are leading risk indicators of developing complications.”
Kallner added that from June, any result from a Vitality Health Check that places someone at high-risk for complications will trigger a referral for advice through one online doctor or nurse consultation in the network, which the scheme will fund in full.
Full testing and monitoring
In line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Outbreak benefit, first announced in early March, Kallner said Discovery is now providing comprehensive cover for Covid-19 over the longer term.
The benefit provides cover for two PCR (DNA related) tests for each beneficiary in a year, following screening by a healthcare professional, and will be funded from the risk-benefit regardless of the result, he said.
He added that healthcare professionals who are members of DHMS, will have cover for four PCR tests in a year.
“Discovery Health will assist members at higher risk of Covid-19 complications with funded telephonic consultations with a wellness specialist to monitor their current physical and mental wellbeing and make referrals to virtual healthcare services.”
Kallner said that DHMS will also fund a pulse oximeter– used to monitor oxygen saturation from an early stage – for members at high risk of Covid-19 complications.
“This will be funded in full if obtained from a network provider. Members will also have access to three consultations with a wellness consultant to monitor oxygen and make a referral to a GP when necessary.
“Employer groups also have access to a variety of benefits that can help to manage Covid-19 in the workplace. A comprehensive information hub, management of high-risk employees, contact tracing and access to screening and online doctor consultations are all available to employers through Discovery Healthy Company.”
Kallner said that Discovery Insure will also reward clients for driving less.
He said that this will include:
- Premium cashback even when driving shorter distances through the Dynamic Distance cashback that rewards low kilometres;
- Clients can earn up to 25% motor premium cashback every month when they drive between 0km and 249km in a month and they can still earn up to 50% fuel cashback when they drive more;
- Vitality Drive Active Rewards has been enhanced so that a client’s drive goal each week is based on their driving behaviour and not on the number of kilometres driven.
Kallner said that Vitality Health Check is a new service tailored for people aged 65 years and older.
It recommends specific and age-appropriate health screenings, preventive tests and vaccinations, and includes a risk assessment score for Covid-19.
“Three clinically validated screening tests help with early detection of age-related risks of hearing loss, visual perception, and balance and leg strength to prevent injuries from falling,” he said.
“The standard set of preventive tests follow, which include blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, weight and smoking status. The acceptable ranges for weight and blood pressure are altered to consider the changes at an older age.”
Preventive steps include recommended vaccines such as the flu vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine to prevent pneumonia.
Kallner said that results are summarised in reports and provide targeted health tracking, clinical risk projections and healthcare referrals based on the health assessment.
Changes to severe illness benefit
Discovery Life has enhanced its severe illness benefit to automatically cover multi-organ complications associated with Covid-19.
This means that clients will have full cover for Covid-19 related claims under their Discovery Life cover.
A new multi-organ benefit has been included as a category under the Severe Illness Benefit to provide relevant cover for the complications associated with Covid-19, Kallner said.
Covid-19 presents varying respiratory, cardiac, renal and liver complications. The multi-organ benefit is a category within the severe illness benefit and complements existing severe illness body systems to provide payments by the level of acute multi-organ failure, resulting in payments of 50% to 100% of the severe illness benefit.
Kallner said that Discovery Life is also taking a proactive approach to providing cover, and is currently tracking 203 clients who have Covid-19 to manage claims from any of their available life, severe illness and income continuation benefits.