Discovery Health Medical Scheme extending benefits for COVID-19


Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) is taking proactive steps to make sure our members who need it have the necessary cover for COVID-19.

Dedicated benefit for COVID-19 virus

Discovery Health Medical Scheme has developed the WHO Global Outbreak Benefit aimed at responding to global health emergencies such as the COVID-19 virus. This virus and the disease it causes was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization in January 2020.

Quick view of the WHO Global Outbreak Benefit

The WHO Global Outbreak Benefit starts for members if a test confirms a COVID-19 virus diagnosis and is immediately available on all Discovery Health Medical Scheme health plans (during the outbreak period).

Covers the out-of-hospital costs for the related treatment from the Scheme's risk pool and not from your Medical Savings Account or other day-to-day benefits.

Tests and treatment outside a hospital

The WHO Global Outbreak Benefit, complements existing DHMS benefits and is available on all DHMS health plans. In combination with the existing DHMS plan benefits, confirmed cases of COVID-19 are covered for:

  • Diagnostic testing
  • Diagnostic testing for influenza
  • Consultations with healthcare professionals
  • Defined supportive treatment and medicines

Discovery Health Medical Scheme will pay for treatment in a hospital according to the usual Scheme benefits on your chosen health plan and according to the Scheme rules.

Important: This cover for out-of-hospital treatment of COVID-19 from the DHMS Global Outbreak Benefit starts when a test confirms that you or other members on your health plan have the COVID-19 virus, and ends when the WHO no longer considers the virus a global emergency. If you get ill outside the outbreak period, we pay according to your normal health plan benefits.

What you need to know about the test for COVID-19 virus and its cover

Currently, as COVID-19 virus is still contained in South Africa, only specific people will be referred for the test to confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19 virus.

If there is reason to believe you are at risk, our advice is to:

  • Self-isolate immediately, and
  • Book a virtual consultation or phone your doctor.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) currently does all the tests. Your doctor will confirm if you have to be tested and will contact the NICD to do the test.

COVID-19 virus tests in the event of an outbreak in South Africa

It is possible that we may experience an outbreak of COVID-19 virus as in other countries. In this event, the NICD will require the support of other testing facilities.

The DHMS WHO Global Outbreak Benefit supports all Discovery Health Medical Scheme members to confirm diagnoses and to treat or protect against the complications of COVID-19:

  • If you have COVID-19, this benefit pays for the test that confirms it as well as for an influenza test.
  • If you do not have COVID-19, the benefit does not pay for an influenza test and your health plan benefits apply.

Get the facts and follow preventive steps

It is possible that COVID-19 will overlap with the flu season in South Africa, so it is crucial to have the seasonal flu vaccine as protection against influenza. Please visit the Coronavirus information hub to understand the facts around COVID-19 and the practices as preventive measures that help protect your health.

All medical information found on this website including content, graphics and images, is for educational and informational objectives only. Discovery Health publishes this content to help to protect and empower all South Africans by promoting a better understanding of COVID-19.

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