Dis-Chem now a fundamental entry point to primary healthcare, says CFO Rui Morais

The pharmaceutical company has launched its own health insurance offering, Dis-Chem Health.

Dis-Chem Pharmacies has launched its own health insurance offering, Dis-Chem Health, as part of its intention to play a leading role to extend universal access to a wider and under-served segment of the population.

“Primary healthcare is fundamental to a healthcare system that improves health outcomes to as broad a base of the population as possible,” said CFO Rui Morais. “With primary healthcare gaining widespread recognition as being the ‘front door’ of the healthcare system, pharmacies are positioned as a fundamental entry point of the primary healthcare ecosystem.”

The launch follows Dis-Chem’s acquisition of 25 percent of Kaelo Holdings’ equity, which houses a number of health assets, including occupational health clinics, the AskNelson psychological wellbeing platform, and the administration of benefit-rich gap and primary health insurance products.

“This initiative combines Dis-Chem’s consumer facing brand strength, store network and loyalty base assets with Kaelo’s best-in-class health insurance assets, giving the capability to maximise policy acquisition and retention while making a meaningful difference in the lives of a large segment of our population who have historically not had access to traditional private medical coverage,” Rui explained.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, demand for affordable medical cover has continued to rise as consumers face both mortality and financial concerns. “The stagnation in medical aid membership has been driven by an increasingly constrained consumer under rising private medical costs, well above inflation rates consistently over the past two decades. This has resulted in more people downgrading to cheaper medical aid plans or cancelling their medical cover altogether. There is growing demand for medical insurance policies that offer a rich set of day-to-day healthcare benefits,” he added.

The company said in a statement that its 430 in-store clinics across its network of over 250 stores across the country are well-positioned as a bridge between the public and private healthcare sectors from both a cost and accessibility perspective.