Members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) will be able to elect to have their health plan administered in accordance with Shari’ah principles from 1 June.
It said South Africa’s first Shari’ah-compliant medical scheme arrangement was available to existing and new DHMS members on all 23 of its plans.
Members who elect to have their current plan administered in accordance with Shari’ah principles will not experience any changes to their benefits or limits.
They can make the change through an accredited financial adviser, or on the Discovery app or website from 6 May.
Firoze Bhorat, the chief marketing officer at Discovery, said the absence of such arrangements has left many of the Muslim community uninsured.
DHMS said the arrangement followed “extensive collaboration” and guidance from “leading Islamic scholars”.
DHMS and its administrator, Discovery Health, have also worked closely with the Council for Medical Schemes over the past two years to ensure that the Takaful principles on which the Shari’ah-compliant arrangement is based are implemented in a way that is consistent with the Medical Schemes Act.
Farzana Baba, the head of health product development at Discovery Health, said the arrangement was developed in accordance with all Shari’ah guiding principles and ethics, including the prohibition of interest.
Participating members’ contributions and balances after the settlement of claims and other expenditure will be invested in conformity with Shari’ah principles,” Baba said.
Discovery Health said it has established an independent Shari’ah Advisory Committee to ensure that all DHMS products and services that it markets as Shari’ah-compliant are compliant.