Skip to content
Discovery launches a new multi-organ feature within the Severe Illness Benefit to provide relevant cover for the complications associated with COVID-19.
Discovery launches a new multi-organ feature within the Severe Illness Benefit to provide relevant cover for the complications associated with COVID-19.

Press release -

Discovery announces new COVID-19-specific protection products

Discovery today announced a number of key product enhancements that respond specifically to insurance needs around COVID-19, as well as the results of two critical research papers on COVID-19 in South Africa.

Hylton Kallner, Discovery South Africa CEO says, “Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been guided by our core purpose of making people healthier. In the context of this pandemic, it is more critical than ever that we work hard every day to support clients with access to healthcare cover and comprehensive financial protection, and that we provide them with the necessary tools to promote behaviour that encourages healthy lifestyle choices.”

The Group earlier introduced healthcare cover specific to COVID-19 through the WHO Global Outbreak benefit and tailored Vitality to help encourage people to stay healthy and active at home. In partnership with Vodacom, the Group made online doctor consultations available to South Africans through a virtual healthcare platform that gives free access to reliable information, risk screening and the ability to effectively ‘dial a doctor’ from the safety of their home.

Kallner explains, “Discovery has access to one of the largest population data sets on a variety of factors relevant to the COVID-19 experience. Ranging from clinical, to financial and behavioural data, we are in a unique position to understand the long-term impact of COVID-19 in South Africa, and to design the necessary product structures to better support clients.”

Together with emerging experience from other parts of the world, Discovery data highlights the importance of regular screening, appropriate testing and understanding and managing an individual’s health risk. This has informed the expansion of new benefits in response to changes brought about by COVID-19. These provide clients with proactive risk monitoring and assistance; providing cover for different severe illness outcomes due to COVID-19; adequate health protection over a longer term; and rewards that adapt to new lifestyles.

A new COVID-19 risk assessment tool to be made available to all South Africans

“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,” says Kallner.

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 says.

“What we know now is that high blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and body mass index are leading risk indicators of developing complications. We want to help members on all health plans to understand and manage these factors to mitigate the risk of complications from COVID-19. From June, any result from a Vitality Health Check that places someone at a 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,” says Kallner.

In addition to the forthcoming COVID-19 risk assessment tool, other key enhancements announced by the Group include:

Discovery Health expands access to fully funded COVID-19 testing and high-risk monitoring

The WHO Outbreak benefit, first announced in early March, has been enhanced further to provide comprehensive cover for COVID-19 over the longer term. It now provides cover for two PCR 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.

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.

DHMS will 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 COVID19 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.

Discovery Insure rewards clients for driving less

Premium cash back even when driving shorter distances through the Dynamic Distance cash back that rewards low kilometres.

Clients can earn up to 25% motor premium cash back every month when they drive between 0km and 249km in a month and they can still earn up to 50% fuel cash back 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.

Discovery Vitality tailored for seniors

Vitality Health Check tailored for people aged 65 years and older, recommending specific and age-appropriate health screenings, preventive tests and vaccinations, including 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. 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.

Results are summarised in reports and provide targeted health tracking, clinical risk projections and healthcare referrals based on the health assessment. It can be accompanied by a Vitality Functional Assessment which is an eight-part physical assessment to identify the risk of early frailty or disability and offers tailored workout routines to support healthy ageing.

Discovery Life enhances Severe Illness Benefit to automatically cover multi-organ complications associated with COVID-19

Clients 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.

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.

Discovery Life is also taking a proactive approach to providing cover and is currently tracking 203 clients who haveCOVID-19 to manage claims from any of their available Life, Severe Illness and Income Continuation Benefits.


Discovery information

About Discovery

Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, banking, savings and investment and wellness markets. Since inception, Discovery has been guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. This has manifested in its globally recognised Vitality Shared-Value insurance model, serving over 20 million members across 24 markets. The Group has wholly-owned operations in South Africa and the United Kingdom, as well as partnerships across the United States, Canada, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and most recently into South and Central America. Discovery trades on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange, with a market cap of $7 billion.

Follow us on Twitter @Discovery_SA


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
Sesona Ngqakamba

Sesona Ngqakamba

Press contact Reputation Management Consultant Banking | Vitality | Sponsorships
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