Discovery launches new healthcare cover for domestic workers – here’s how it works

Discovery has launched new basic private healthcare for employees of households, including support for Covid-19.

Discovery said that the service will be available through Primary Care for Household Employees, which gives household employees and their dependants access to primary private healthcare benefits from R249 per month.

“As employers welcome their members of staff back into the household, our focus is on financial stability and overall health,” said Nonkululeko Pitje, Head of Employee Health Solutions at Discovery.

“While the focus is on preventing the spread of Covid-19, it is also important to minimise the risk of families and staff contracting the seasonal flu viruses which are currently circulating.”

Discovery said that around 1.2 million people work as employees in private households in South Africa. These individuals provide an invaluable service in their roles as domestic workers, gardeners, drivers and caregivers, it said.

“We’re acutely aware of the financial pressures Covid-19 has created, yet it is an incredibly important time for people to have access to quality healthcare,” said Pitje.

“Before the pandemic, research showed that despite the national minimum wage, most household employees were unable to cover essentials such as food, housing and transport, and less than 1% of people within this employee group had access to private healthcare, and instead relied on South Africa’s public healthcare system.

“We know that access to primary healthcare services is associated with better health outcomes and a decrease in hospitalisation and emergency department visits. This was true before Covid-19 and is now even more important.

Benefits and pricing

Discovery’s Primary Care for Household Employees offers a basket of benefits, including access to the WHO Global Outbreak Benefit which provides funding for Covid -19 positive testing.

Other benefits include:

  • Unlimited nurse visits at a pharmacy in the Discovery network;
  • Unlimited GP visits when referred by a nurse;
  • Two network GP visits each year in the absence of referral by a nurse;
  • Cover for medical procedures in a GP’s rooms;
  • Cover for acute prescribed medicine on the medicine list;
  • One eye test at a network optometrist and one pair of glasses or contact lenses each year;
  • Dentist visits, fillings and tooth extraction at a network dentist;
  • Cover for an annual flu vaccine at a network pharmacy;
  • HIV management;
  • One wellness screening each year.

While Discovery Primary Care for household employees is not a medical aid and does not include hospital cover, employers can choose to add optional emergency hospital cover.

The Trauma Benefit costs an additional R63 per month for R300,000 cover, or R88 for R1 million cover.

This benefit includes access to emergency private healthcare services at any private hospital, for a range of traumatic events. Funeral cover valued at R5,000 is also included at no extra cost.

There is a three-month general waiting period from the membership start date. This means that if the policy is activated on 1 June 2020, your household employee will have access to their benefits from 1 September 2020.

Cover is only available for household employees who work in a private household. This includes cleaners and gardeners, drivers, people who take care of children, the aged, the sick, the frail or the disabled, and domestic workers employed by an employment service. Farm workers are not eligible.

You can read more about the programme here.

Read: New living annuity fund changes for South Africa

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Discovery launches new healthcare cover for domestic workers – here’s how it works