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Discovery Health Medical Scheme members to have access to a Shariah Compliant Arrangement from 2021

30 October 2020 Discovery

Discovery Health Medical Scheme has created this arrangement through collaboration and expert guidance from leading Islamic scholars to cater to the needs of many in the Muslim community.

From 4 November 2020, Discovery Health Medical Scheme members will be able to elect to have their health plan administered in accordance with principles that are compliant, through the Discovery Health Medical Scheme Shariah Compliant Arrangement. Current Discovery Health Medical Scheme members can simply switch to the Shariah Compliant Agreement on the Discovery website by following easy steps.

Discovery Health Medical Scheme has created this arrangement through collaboration and expert guidance from leading Islamic scholars to cater to the needs of many in the Muslim community.

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic Discovery Health Medical Scheme has adopted a multi-dimensional approach aimed at making people healthier and ensuring readily available access to healthcare services. Through this period, it has been evident that our purpose has never been more relevant as has the importance of innovation on the part of medical schemes.

While South Africa has fared well through the COVID-19 pandemic experience thus far, we remain very aware of the strain it has put on our economy and our members. Discovery Health Medical Scheme has deployed several benefit design and financial relief interventions, as allowed for by the Medical Schemes Act, supported by significant digital technology innovations that provide access to healthcare in new ways, with a view to providing comprehensive support to members.

“The Shariah Compliant Arrangement was developed with this in mind and in accordance with all Shariah guiding principles, including the Islamic law regarding interest – there will be no interest earned or paid on this arrangement,” says Ismail Rasool, Chief Data Officer at Discovery Health. “It is resetting Healthcare funding for the Muslim community, which is centred around the need for financial inclusion of health coverage that meets the Shariah financial principles while providing access to quality, affordable private healthcare.”

The Shariah Compliant Agreement adheres to the Takaful principles and investments are done under Mudharaba contracts thereby allowing members the opportunity to earn a profit on their Medical Savings Account balances on funds invested. Further, member contributions, and balances remaining after the settlement of claims and other expenditure will be invested in Shariah compliant investment vehicles and structures.

Independently 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 that are marketed as Shariah compliant. The Discovery Health Medical Scheme Shariah Compliant Arrangement will be subject to regular compliance reviews and an annual compliance audit by the Advisory committee. The advisory includes three leading scholars: Sheikh Mohammed Tauha Karaan, Mufti Ahmed Suliman and Mufti Yusuf Suliman who serve on Shariah boards both locally and internationally and have been instrumental in developing Islamic products in South Africa.

“Shariah compliant financial arrangements are in line with requirements found in the law and principles of Islam and we have ensured that the model used to create this arrangement is compliant and based on Takaful principles” says leading Shariah Consultant, Mufti Ahmed Suliman. “The process happens in an acceptable manner in which no interest is earned or paid at any stage and there is no ambiguity in the contracts that are entered into by members, thus protecting their interests and assuring them that investments will indeed be managed in a Shariah compliant manner.”

A simple process for interested members to switch and opt-in

There is a simple election process for existing Discovery Health Medical Scheme Shariah members to switch to the Shariah Compliant Arrangement. “During the health plan change process during the year-end period, members will have the option to select the Shariah Compliant Arrangement through their financial advisers or directly on Discovery’s website. By opting into the arrangement, members will agree to all the additional terms applicable to the Shariah Compliant Arrangement,” says Rasool

Discovery Health will make the choice to switch to the Shariah Compliant Arrangement available on the Discovery website to Discovery Health Medical Scheme members from the 4 November. We also encourage new members who wish to ensure peace of mind in having Shariah compliant medical cover to join Discovery Health Medical Scheme and opt for this arrangement as well.

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