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Discovery Health and Discovery Vitality address global trends with enhanced 2014 benefits

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Discovery Health and Discovery Vitality address global trends with enhanced 2014 benefits

Thursday, 12 September 2013 - Discovery Health and Discovery Vitality today announced their key strategic focus areas for 2014, which build on the exceptional performance of Discovery Health, the Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) and Discovery Vitality over the past few years.

Discovery Health’s vision is to offer the broadest and best benefit choices at the lowest cost per unit inside a healthcare system that is seamless, accessible and brilliantly serviced within a broader sustainable healthcare system for all South Africans. This vision has never been more relevant, given the global trends impacting on the healthcare industry – the continuous increase in healthcare costs, consumer receptivity to new digital technology and the increasing burden of chronic diseases.

Against this background Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) announced significant benefit enhancements that address these global trends; offer access to holistic individual and corporate wellness solutions with greater rewards for healthy living; and contain medical inflation with a uniform contribution increase of 8.9% across all plans, balancing value and cost for DHMS members without compromising the future growth and quality of benefits.

DHMS has performed exceptionally well across all key performance metrics, resulting in continuous strong membership growth, financial strength and long-term sustainability. Milton Streak, Principal Officer of DHMS said, “Earlier this year, we presented the results of an independent review on the value Discovery Health offers to the members of the Discovery Health Medical Scheme. The Review strongly endorsed the Scheme’s governance structures, processes and standards, as well as its operating model and found that members receive significant value for their money from Discovery Health.”

Discovery Health Medical Scheme’s annual contribution increase of 8.9% reflects the impact of the rising cost of healthcare services – a global problem that is not unique to South Africa. Three factors drive increases: tariffs, which closely correlate with CPI; demand-side factors that reflect changing demographics; and supply-side factors, which are due to advances in medical technology and practice.

Discovery Health CEO, Dr Jonathan Broomberg said that “In spite of these global inflationary pressures, Discovery Health’s approach to risk management, the strong healthy growth of the scheme, reducing administration fees and the positive impact of the Vitality programme have together been able to reduce unmanaged healthcare inflation by 3.6% per year, leading DHMS to have the lowest cost inflation in the industry”. As a result, DHMS members pay contributions that are on average 15% lower than all other open medical schemes in South Africa, on a benefit adjusted basis.

Milton Streak, Principal Officer of DHMS said, “The 8.9% uniform increase was set with the objectives of maintaining and enhancing benefits, strengthening the Scheme’s competitive position and continuing to build solvency while growing membership, without any trade-offs between these dimensions. This approach ensures the long term financial strength and sustainability of the Scheme.”

Ongoing innovation in products and services is a critical objective for Discovery Health as it ensures greater value, protection and certainty for consumers. Enhancements for 2014 include benefit increases across a wide range of treatment categories as well as enhancements to maternity benefits that help members save on their day-to-day medical expenses. Discovery Health also announced an exclusive arrangement with Netcells Biosciences that entitles members to a 25% discount on umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cell banking.

In addition to enhanced benefits, Discovery Health introduced an advanced corporate wellness offering aimed at taking forward the role that employers play in improving the health and wellness of their employees. Dr Broomberg explained the rationale behind the new corporate wellness offering; “Non-communicable diseases are estimated to cause more than nine million deaths each year for people under the age of 60, with detrimental effects on socio-economic development. With the increasing prevalence of these diseases and mental illness in the working-age population, employers are becoming more concerned about their impact on absenteeism and productivity. Discovery is uniquely positioned to develop corporate wellness strategies, which has led to the launch of the Discovery Corporate Wellness Cycle.”

The new corporate wellness offering includes a range of preventive care strategies, health information, data and analysis, corporate wellness intervention strategies and support through digital channels.

Following the introduction of the corporate wellness offering, Discovery Vitality lived up to its reputation as the leading wellness solution globally with benefit enhancements that further improves the Vitality value proposition. A cornerstone of the Vitality programme is its ability to understand how consumers react to incentives to change behaviour and incorporate this into a robust and incentive programme. Vitality has further developed this capability with the launch of Vitality LiveWell programme.

Gidon Novick, CEO of Discovery Vitality explains; “Vitality’s success stems from our ability to give members a complete view of their health and wellness and the tools to make a healthy lifestyle possible, as well as the incentives to do so. In the battle against chronic diseases of lifestyle, we have now strengthened the clinical efficacy of the Vitality programme with tailored wellness journeys our members can use to achieve their health goals.”

Enhancements include the extension of Woolworths as a HealthyFood partner to all Vitality members as well as the opportunity to shop at both HealthyFood partners with the same 25% discount. Gidon Novick, CEO of Discovery Vitality commented on the popularity of the Vitality HealthyFood benefit, “Since the launch of the Vitality HealthyFood benefit in 2009, it has become one of the most widely used Vitality benefits. It is an integral tool for us to promote healthier eating habits. It is encouraging to see the tangible proof that people make healthier dietary choices if healthier food options are made more affordable and easier to identify.”

Vitality also announced a new enhanced travel benefit that gives members the opportunity to book holiday accommodation at more than 500 top hotels, lodges, resorts and bed and breakfasts across South Africa.

Communication explaining benefit enhancements will be rolled out to all members of the Discovery Health Medical Scheme and Vitality during October and November. 


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Felicity Hudson

Felicity Hudson

Press contact Head of Reputation Management Discovery Group 0115294514
Nthabiseng Chapeshamano

Nthabiseng Chapeshamano

Press contact Senior Reputation Manager Invest, Cogence, Long & Short Term Insurance, and Sustainability
Zeenat Moorad

Zeenat Moorad

Press contact Senior Reputation Manager Banking | Vitality | Sponsorships
Karishma Jivan

Karishma Jivan

Press contact Senior Reputation Management Consultant Healthcare & Sustainability
Lianne Osterberger

Lianne Osterberger

Press contact Senior Manager: Media Relations and Reputation Management 083 27 27 313
Hannah Newbold

Hannah Newbold

Press contact Reputation Management Consultant Insure & Invest