Discovery launches a new prepaid Health platform accessible through its web portal and WhatsApp. The company said that the platform enables South Africans to buy prepaid vouchers and receive high-quality primary healthcare for as little as R300.
The prepaid vouchers are for GP consultations (similar to prepaid cellphone accounts) indicating a big market shift for Discovery Health – a service once reserved for high-income clients. It remains to be seen whether this should work when it comes to healthcare as it did with the cellphone. Generally, this form of healthcare is unheard of but can help millions of poor patients.
Ryan Noach, the Chief executive of Discovery Health said the group will start with a single R300 voucher covering GP consultation accompanied by 5 extra days of medication. Other vouchers are expected next year covering nurse consultations, pharmacy vouchers, and virtual consultations.
Noach clarified that the prepaid voucher was in no way related to Discovery Health Medical Scheme and is specifically rolled out by the company handling all Discovery Health Medical Scheme’s administration, Discovery Health Pty Ltd. Diamond is the highest vitality level and can buy a R300 GP voucher for R240.
Discovery is known for its innovation but it wasn’t the first to hit the market. It follows hospital group Netcare that launched a similar product sometime in August. NetcarePlus GP has a voucher that offers a choice between three types of prepaid vouchers. You can choose:
- An in-person consultation voucher – R350
- A voucher covering consultation and prescribed acute medications – R430
- A virtual doctor consultation – R290
The catch here is to use a GP on the NetcarePlus partner network. According to Teshlin Akaloo, the Managing Director of NetCare’s innovative product division, there are over 500 doctors across all the 9 provinces with a virtual option that gives access to private GP consultation irrespective of your location.