Discovery Health has been ordered to qualify its claim to offer ‘comprehensive’ chronic cover after being called out by a prominent businessman.

TimesLIVE report notes that Grant Pattison, whose positions have included CEO of Massmart Holdings and Edcon, lodged a complaint with the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) with respect to an advert for ‘comprehensive chronic cover’ the medical scheme posted on X (Twitter) early last month.

The advert was misleading, Pattison said, because Discovery Health did not provide cover for all chronic diseases and excluded cover for treatment of some of the most common chronic conditions.

Pattinson took up the cause on behalf of his elderly mother who takes several chronic medications, ‘none of which were covered by Discovery's “comprehensive chronic cover” product,’ he said.

Responding, Discovery Health told the ARB the Medical Schemes Act and its regulations required medical schemes to cover costs related to the diagnosis, treatment and care of a defined list of 27 chronic conditions, according to the prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs).

The word ‘comprehensive’ was meant to describe the benefits offered once patients qualify for chronic cover and is not intended to indicate most chronic conditions are covered, Discovery said.

‘The directorate believes the advertising implies the advertiser offers something over and above the legal minimum PMB benefits. But from its submission, this does not appear to be the case. It seems what is offered is “comprehensive PMB cover”, which it is legally obliged to offer, hence the advertising is misleading, the ARB said.

Discovery Health was instructed to amend the advertising to qualify the claim of ‘comprehensive chronic cover’.

Full TimesLIVE report

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