Do you know what really pisses me off? Feeling robbed by big business! Feeling like we’re being discriminated against by big business because our journey to family creation followed an alternative path. Feeling ignored and side lined by Discovery because we’re forced to conform to their ridiculous policies!

Let me explain….

We have a Discovery health hospital plan. Walter is the main member and Ava and I are dependents on this plan. The week before Hannah’s placement we contacted Discovery to have her added from placement date (24th April) to our HP. After jumping through all the required hoops (signed affidavits from our social worker, certified copies of our ID’s etc etc) we were informed that because we weren’t adding a new born, biological child, we would not be able to activate her membership from date of placement but would only be able to cover her from either the 1st May or have to pay for a full months cover from the 1st of April, even though we only required cover from the 24th of April. This cost us R600 of unnecessary cover because according to Discovery, they don’t offer a prorata rate for adopted children not placed at birth or biological children not being covered from birth. When we returned from Cape Town, we discovered that Hannah had in fact not been added to our HP from the 1st April as we had requested and so Walter had to once again contact them and go through the loong process of explaining our situation before their ripped us a new one and charged for a full months cover, even though we only required cover by that stage for 4 days of the month! Do you know what it’s like to deal with a call center agent about adoption…???

Now just to clarify….

With the change in the child act, the placement from birth of adoptive children is near impossible. The new child act states that the baby needs to be in a place of safety for the duration of the 60 day consent period, thereby making Discovery’s clause null and void. The only time this clause would apply would be for couples who are adopting via the use of a surrogate.

It really isn’t about the R600, but rather the principle of the matter for us. Why should we, because we are infertile and have adopted children, be required to follow a different set of rules than other families? I feel that Discovery SHOULD offer us a pro rata rate for the month of April, they SHOULD relook their policy in this regard and it is wholly unfair and frankly feels like day light robbery, a way of making a quick buck for doing frankly sweet f*ck all!

The only way we were even able to get a response from Discovery was by taking to social media as their call center were unwilling and unable to even offer us an explanation. Their “Executive Relationship Manager” responded with the following email:

Dear Sharon

Thank you for speaking to me earlier.

Please see the following timeline of events regarding the addition of Hannah to your membership:

  • We received the application on 16 April 2013
  • The application form was captured and checked on the same day and moved to underwriting
  • On 17 April 2013 we called for the medical questions to be answered and for the affidavits from the main member and social worker as the adoption process is not yet finalized.
  • We received the information on 17 April 2013
  • Hannah was activated on your policy on 18 April 2013.

The normal turn around time for an application form to be processed is 4 to 5 working days if no further requirements are called for, therefore the application was processed well within the communicated time.

We received a request for Hannah’s start date to commence on the 24th of April 2013 (this is when the baby was put into your custody). Discovery Health cannot start a dependent half way through the month unless it is the child’s date of birth and therefore, we activated her effective 1 May 2013.

Mr van Wyk contacted the call center earlier today and changed Hannah’s date of entry to 1 April 2013.

As per our Scheme rules, if the adoption process is not yet finalized we will need affidavits to be completed in order to process the application form. This is to ensure that the members have started the adoption process:

Discvovery BS

If the adoption is still in process and the baby is not being added from date of birth, then the baby is subject to full underwriting.

These rules are also applicable to members adding their biological children onto the Scheme. The child can be added from their date of birth free of underwriting. If the member selects a different date, full underwriting is applicable.

We would not allow the children to start mid-month and unfortunately cannot pro-rate the premiums.

I have attached a copy of the underwriting protocols to confirm these details.

Kind regards

Genevieve Fredericks

Executive Relationship Manager

Discovery Health

Tel + 27 11 529 4455

Fax + 27 11 539 3291


Does this seem life fair business practice? Does it seem ethical? To take a full months payment when only a few days is required? We responded to the above email last week Wednesday and I’ve had to follow up again this morning using Twitter and email for a response. The response we have received is still UNCLEAR? According to Discovery’s policy, as declared in their email, if the adoption is still not finalized, then we should receive full underwriting. Hannah’s adoption is NOT finalized, so why then are we being charged for the full month of April and not being covered by full underwriting as per THEIR policy detail??

Both Walter and I are getting seriously pissed off with the delay in response from Discovery, we want a clear answer, something which NO ONE at Discovery seems to be able to give us. The call center staff are CLUELESS when it comes to dealing with adoptions, their SM team managing the Twitter account seem to be the only ones who bother to respond, and even then mostly they just ignore me and fob me off with some lame response.

I feel we’re owed an explanation as to why we’re being shafted, up the rear with no lube? Again, I’d like to be clear, it is NOT about the R600 but about how nobody seems to be able to give us a clear answer to two things:

  1. How it’s not day light robbery that we’re being forced to pay for a full months cover when only a week’s cover was required?
  2. Why we’re not being offered free underwriting as Hannah’s adoption has not been finalized, as per their OWN policies?

Walter is so frustrated and angry that he is on the verge of cancelling our HP with Discover, even though we’ve been with them for more than 12 years and moving onto another scheme.

The response from their “Executive Relationship Manager” this morning was, in a nut shell, if you don’t like it then need to lodge a dispute. We still have not had a straight answer regarding the contradictory nature their policy!

Edited: So after another phone call from Discovery’s Executive Relationship Manager, which saw me explaining the new SA Child Act & why their policy is B.S. and I was answered with silence and had to check that she was in fact still on the line and then fed the message of policy, we’ve looked at our alternatives and Fedhealth comes out the winner. Better hospital plan, better cover, less adoption BS and an almost R7 000 saving per year. Cheers to you Discovery and your “policies”!