Introducing the Discovery Health Medical Scheme Shariah Compliant Arrangement

Discovery Health Medical Scheme Shariah Compliant Arrangement

Discovery Health Medical Scheme has temporarily suspended the Shariah Compliant Arrangement that was introduced for 2021. Unfortunately, the Council for Medical Schemes has not approved the specific Scheme Rules that would enable the Shariah Compliant Arrangement.

The Scheme is thankful for the overwhelming support it has received for the Shariah Compliant Arrangement from South Africans that could not previously join a medical scheme due to the lack of such an arrangement. Based on this support, Discovery Health Medical Scheme remains fully committed to offering the Shariah Compliant Arrangement. The Scheme, with the support of its Shariah advisers, is in ongoing engagements with CMS to secure the necessary approvals.

Without the CMS approval, the Scheme is unfortunately not allowed to offer the Shariah Compliant Arrangement until further notice.

Discovery Health Medical Scheme members who have opted to have their plans managed in accordance with the Shariah Compliant Arrangement will be duly notified of the temporary suspension of the Shariah Compliant Arrangement.

ASSURING MEMBERS OF THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY OF COMPLIANCE WITH SHARIAH PRINCIPLES

Firoze Bhorat
Chief Marketing Officer

"Innovation, for me, is to bring a clear solution to a problem to change people’s lives. In this year alone, we have seen countless innovations around us to help people work, shop and exercise in new ways. At Discovery, we’ve introduced products across our businesses to support changing health and financial needs, and we’ve provided digital and technology support to trace and treat COVID-19 patients.

Sometimes, providing a solution also comes from the conviction that nothing, especially necessary access to healthcare, should require people to go against the laws they uphold. At Discovery, our values and our purpose guide us in what we do and how we do it. Comprehending the importance of values and of giving people all the benefits they can derive from funds held in the medical scheme, our teams have worked closely with leading community scholars to develop the first Shariah Compliant Arrangement for medical scheme members in South Africa.

Under the guidance of the Shariah Advisory Board, all 23 of the Discovery Health Medical Scheme plans will offer the Shariah Compliant Arrangement, which does not attract any additional monthly costs. The cover that incorporates the rules around financial transactions in the Shariah Compliant Arrangements will be effective from 1 January 2021. Any of the Medical Scheme’s existing members who want this option, can make contact or indicate this choice when reviewing their health plans through a financial adviser or online.

With this arrangement, I am extremely proud that Discovery Health Medical Scheme is the first to achieve compliance and to offer plans that meet the specific Shariah principles around earning interest and the appropriate investment of funds to earn a profit. Over the coming weeks, our teams will be sharing more about all the enhancements for 2021 and I look forward to seeing the positive difference this and other enhancements will make in people’s lives going forward."

Watch the webinar that took place on 18 November 2020, in conversation with Firoze Bhorat

DISCOVERY HEALTH MEDICAL SCHEME IS THE FIRST TO OFFER SHARIAH COMPLIANCE FROM 2021

Compliance with Shariah principles

In accordance with all guiding principles, the Discovery Health Medical Scheme Shariah Compliant Arrangement was designed end-to-end in line with Shariah principles, including:

  • In line with the principle of Shariah Law regarding interest, there will be no interest earned or paid on the Shariah Compliant Arrangement. Funds will be invested in a compliant manner thereby allowing members the opportunity to earn a profit on MSA balances.
  • Participating members gain the assurance that their contributions, and balances remaining after the settlement of claims and other relevant expenditure will be invested in Shariah compliant investments.
  •   Model is compliant and is based on Takaful principles
  •   Process flow happens in an acceptable manner
  •   No interest earned or paid at any stage
  •   No ambiguity in contracts
  •   Member's interests are protected
  •   Investments are managed in Shariah Compliant manner

Independent verified compliance with Shariah principles

An independent Shariah Advisory Committee was established by Discovery Health to secure upfront and ongoing compliance of all products and services marketed as Shariah Compliant.

Members of this committee include three leading scholars: Mufti Ahmed Suliman, Mufti Yusuf Suliman and Sheik Mohammad Tauha Karaan who serve on Shariah Boards both locally and internationally and who have been instrumental in developing Islamic financial products in South Africa.

The Discovery Health Medical Scheme Shariah Compliant Arrangement will be subject to regular compliance reviews, and an annual compliance audit.

SIMPLE ELECTION PROCESS FOR MEMBERS

Existing members

  • In the plan renewal process, members will have the option to select the Shariah Compliant Arrangement.
  • By opting into the Shariah Compliant Arrangement, members will agree to all the additional terms applicable to the Shariah Compliant Arrangement.
  • The switch to the Shariah Compliant Arrangement is applicable on request only. Members are only subject to the Shariah Compliant Arrangement if they explicitly elect to be. The default for all members is to remain outside the Shariah Compliant Arrangement.

 

New members

  • New members, whether joining in their individual capacity or as part of an employer group, can elect to be part of the Shariah Compliant Arrangement through the member application form.
  • Members will only subject to the Shariah Compliant Arrangement if they explicitly elected to be during the application process. The default for all members is to remain outside the Shariah Compliant Arrangement.
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