Discovery headquarters in Sandton (Boogertman and
Discovery headquarters in Sandton (Boogertman and Partners)
  • Discovery Health saw 8,500 new cancer cases among its members last year, an increase of 45% since 2011.
  • Over that same time the cost of oncology-related treatment has increased by over 100%.
  • 671,016 members made claims for hospital treatment last year, with an average cost of R43,057 per admission. 
  • The scheme grew by 2.1% with over 41,000 new, mostly young and healthy, members signing up. 
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Discovery Health saw 8,500 new cancer cases among its members last year, an increase of 45% since 2011. And over that same period the cost of oncology-related treatment has increased by over 100% - rising from R1.5 billion to over R3.6 billion in 2018.

South Africa’s largest medical aid scheme, which claims 56.6% of the market, said cancer incidence is increasing rapidly and for reasons that are not fully understood, but which appear to be linked to lifestyle.

At a 2018 results presentation in Johannesburg, Discovery reported hospital admissions contributed the most to total claims costs at R29.5 billion of a total R56.4 billion paid out for healthcare claims in 2018.

671,016 members made claims for hospital treatment, at an average cost of R43,057 per admission. 

Despite what it called volatile investment markets, the scheme delivered a surplus of R816 million, and grew by 2.1% with over 41,000 new members signing up.

New members bring a much younger – and healthier – demographic profile averaging an age of 26.1 years old, as opposed to the current average age of existing members at 34.6 years old. The scheme relies on healthy long-term members to cover the costs of those who are sick.

On average claims increase by 2.5% for every year that the average age of the medical scheme increases. 

Discovery said it has over R17.6 billion in members’ funds in reserve and a solvency level of 27.3% at the end of 2018, versus the regulatory requirement of at least 25%.

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