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Discovery Health Tracker - March 2013

Press Release   •   Jun 10, 2013 10:01 GMT

Total hospital costs for March were R964 million. Some of the major driversof the high cost admissions were:

  • Transplants, including heart and lung; liver and lung transplants – the average costs for these transplants rangefrom R455 000 to R1.78 million
  • Major operations for premature babies – average costs range from R457 000 to R722 000
  • Long-term ventilation – average cost of R651 000- Of the top 10 highest hospital costs paid in March 2013, 7 relate to long-term ventilation totalling R18 million(75% of top 10 costs)
  • The highest cost for March 2013 was R3.6 million for a 60-year old patient on long-term ventilationwho has been admitted for more than 156 days
  • Also in the top 10 hospital costs, was a 2-year old infant admitted for respiratory procedures for 150 dayswhich amounted to R2.1 million. 

Caesarean deliveries were the most common reason for admission (2 797), followed by digestive system diagnoses (2 613)and lens procedures (2 297). The total cost for the top 10 admission conditions amounted to R186 million.

Discovery Health has over 336 405 registered chronic members and in total R1.77 billion was paid for chronic medicineover the past year. Hypertension remains the highest registered chronic condition, with 251 535 members comparedto the next highest condition of hyperlipidaemia with 140 150 registered members and asthma with 80 820.

The Oncology Programme has grown in both costs and enrolled members. For March 2013, R159 million was spenton 34 596 oncology members.

Glucose testing was the number 1 Vitality screening test among members with 34 285 screenings completed during March.

For the full report, please see attachment. 

Discovery information

Discovery is an authorised financial services provider.

Discovery operates in the healthcare cover market in South Africa, the United Kingdom and China; the life assurance market in South Africa and the United Kingdom; as well as the long-term savings and investment market, and short-term insurance market in South Africa.

Vitality, Discovery’s wellness programme, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution. It provides individual and corporate wellness initiatives in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and China. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds 3.4 million lives.

Discovery’s core purpose is to make people healthier, and to enhance and protect their lives through financial products that clients need and want.

South African operations

Discovery Health

  • Launched in 1992, Discovery Health isSouth Africa’s largest healthcare funder and manager of medical schemes. It manages 14 medical schemes.
  • This includes the Discovery Health Medical Scheme, which has a 50% share in the open medical schemes market, making it South Africa’s largest open medical scheme.
  • Discovery Health covers more than 2.6 million lives.
  •  The Scheme is the only one in South Africa to enjoy an AA+ rating for its claims paying ability, the highest possible credit rating from international rating agency Global Credit Ratings.
  • The Discovery Health Medical Scheme holds over R7.4 billion in reserves.
  • Discovery Health pioneered consumer-driven healthcare in South Africa with the introduction of innovations like the Medical Savings Account and its wellness programme, Vitality.
  • Discovery Health is continuously innovating new products and tools to enhance the quality of care members receive, including HealthID, an iPad-based application for doctors launched in 2012.
  • Discovery Health was voted the top medical aid brand in the Sunday Times Top Brands survey for both 2010 and 2011.
  • Discovery Health was voted the top healthcare product supplier at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) Awards.
  • In 2012, the PricewaterhouseCoopers fifth biennial Strategic and Emerging Issues in South African Insurance survey rated Discovery Health’s insurance products as the leader in the industry.


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