Discovery has managed to build itself into a global health care giant, making it less reliant on its South African business. But CEO Adrian Gore has dismissed the idea it could shift focus from its local health business as plans to implement National Health Insurance (NHI) gain traction, reports BusinessLive.
On 5 September, Gore said the company did not predict any dramatic change in its strategic planning for the medical scheme administration business. Discovery administrates 14 medical schemes, including Discovery Health Medical Scheme.
“I think the appropriate view is that medical schemes have a very important role to play in the broader national health-care system, therefore in our planning cycle we don’t predict any dramatic change in the future,” Gore said.
He was speaking at the company’s annual results for the year ended in June, writes Penelope Mashego for Business Day.
Discovery’s share price declined by more than 8% in the week the NHI Bill was tabled last month, as the market reacted to the news. The government is aiming to fully implement NHI by 2026.
Gore said the role of the private sector is critical to the success of NHI and not including it would be. He added that SA’s health-care issues are not unique and other countries are going through similar complex policy debates.
Discovery’s results show profits from its health business increased 10%, while the group’s profits rose 15% to R6.6bn, Business Dayreports.
In the 27 years since its inception in 1992, Discovery has built its business into a health, wellness, insurance and financial services group. Discovery is active in 21 countries through the Vitality Group.
At the core of its global business is Vitality Group, which offers shared-value insurance and incentivises people to make better life choices. But the health business is still a major part of the group, and therefore the NHI Bill will have an influence on its strategy.
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