Discovery introduces Sharia-compliant medical aid to attract uninsured Muslim community

Discovery Health Medical Scheme will introduce Sharia-compliant provisions on all of its medical aid options in June. Photo: Boogertman and partners

  • Discovery Health Medical Scheme will introduce Sharia-compliant provisions on all of its medical aid options in June.
  • Any member of the scheme can choose to have their medical aid administered in accordance with Sharia principles which prohibit billing and the collection of interest.
  • Discovery received “overwhelming support” from the uninsured Muslim community when it was introduced in 2021.

The Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) will make all of its 23 medical aid plans Sharia-compliant to meet the needs of Muslims and Islamic institutions. The program said its plans will be administered according to the Sharia principle for those who wish on June 1, 2022.

This will be the first Shariah-compliant medical scheme arrangement in South Africa to cater to the needs of the Muslim community, as the Shariah economic system differs from conventional economic systems in some things. For example, charging and collecting interest is prohibited in the Sharia economic system.

“The Shariah-compliant arrangement is available to existing and new DHMS members on all 23 Medical Assistance Plans, and while it is aimed specifically at members of the Muslim community, everyone is welcome to do this selection for a plan arrangement designed with the Shar ‘iah principles,” Discovery wrote in the announcement.

Discovery Health said customers who follow Islamic law need closer alignment of their current health financing arrangements with all aspects of their religious practices, hence the decision to introduce these changes.

Farzana Baba, head of health product development at Discovery Health, said participating member contributions and balances after claims are settled will be invested in accordance with Shariah principles.

“This resets health care funding not only for the Muslim community but also for any member of a medical scheme who prefers excess funds generated by them to be invested in this way,” she said.

Discovery said all existing DHMS members can choose to have their current plan administered this way without any changes to their benefits or limitations.

Discovery initially introduced Shariah-compliant arrangements on its medical plan options in 2021, but had to put it on hold temporarily because the Council on Medical Plans (CMS) had not approved specific plan rules that would allow it in the future. era.

After this initial introduction, the company said it had “overwhelming support” from South African consumers who previously could not adhere to a medical plan.

The company said it took two years of working with CMS to ensure its Sharia-compliant agreement is here to stay now.

“Having worked closely with the Council for Medical Schemes, we are delighted to bring this innovation to market, effectively expanding access to medical scheme products to the Muslim community. The lack of such arrangements has historically left many members of the Muslim community without insurance, and we are proud to fill this gap,” said Discovery Marketing Director Firoze Bhorat.

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