Discovery offers prepaid private healthcare via WhatsApp

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Medical aid Discovery Health has launched a prepaid system that allows users to buy healthcare vouchers via its digital platforms for as little as R300.

Users load the voucher to their prepaid health balance using WhatsApp, online or through the Discovery Prepaid Health app.

The prepaid vouchers allow patients to see participating doctors, who will then redeem the cellphone voucher and provide the necessary healthcare services.

According to Discovery, users can, within 60 seconds, buy a voucher and share the voucher link with anybody else. “A parent might buy for a student away from home; a sibling may buy for a loved one some distance away; an employer for an employee; and so on,” says the medical aid.

The introduction of prepaid healthcare by Discovery comes at a time when dependence on private healthcare in SA took a knock due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

Discovery Health CEO Dr Ryan Noach says: “Our vision is to make buying prepaid vouchers towards top-class, private healthcare as common as buying prepaid airtime for our mobile phones.”

Discovery says users don’t need to belong to any medical aid to use Discovery Prepaid Health, as the platform is open to any person living in SA.

The company says the first offering within the Discovery Prepaid Health range of private primary healthcare products is the R300 GP doctor consultation voucher, including the medicines dispensed by the doctor after the consultation.

This voucher can be redeemed at any dispensing general practitioner within the Discovery Prepaid Health network.

“Discovery Health is committed to our core purpose of making people healthier and enhancing and protecting their lives. What this means, day to day, is that we put significant energy into proactively understanding society’s healthcare needs and driving innovation around new ways of accessing private healthcare for as many South Africans as possible,” says Dr Noach.

“Over time, we have built strong private healthcare networks and a deep understanding of the healthcare system. Leveraging our data analytics capabilities, we have been able to identify the intersection of optimal, quality healthcare and affordability, ideal for the currently uninsured market.

“We have carefully selected the healthcare professionals who are pioneering the Discovery Prepaid Health offering with us, and we’re excited that every person in our country will have the opportunity to consult with them.”

According to Discovery, users don’t need a smartphone to access Discovery Prepaid Health.

“You simply need a cellphone which is compatible with WhatsApp and/or has Web browsing capabilities, a laptop or computer. The platform can be accessed by anyone of any age living in South Africa, but minors should be accompanied by an adult when receiving healthcare.”

The company says more healthcare services will become available on the Discovery Prepaid Health platform next year.

Future services include a pharmacy pack, pharmacy clinic plus meds, and online GP plus meds.

“We remain committed to ensuring that as many people as possible in South Africa have access to affordable, high-quality, primary healthcare, now and into the future,” says Noach.

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