If you are a member of the Discovery Health Medical Scheme or a Discovery Life policy holder, you have probably heard of Vitality.

But what are the benefits of this programme, and will it be worth it for you to join?

Counting Coins breaks down South Africa’s leading wellness programme:

What is it?

According to the Discovery Vitality rules booklet, “The Vitality programme aims to incentivise members to improve their quality of life and reduce their long-term medical costs. Vitality rewards members for looking after their health by giving them access to a range of benefits, including the wellness facilities that we have chosen”.

Who can join the Vitality rewards programme?

You can join the Vitality programme if you are a Discovery Life policy holder paying a premium of at least R350, your employer has taken out Discovery Life Group Cover, or if you are the principal member of a medical scheme that is administered by Discovery Health.

How does it work?

The levels

The Vitality programme is based on a levels system. Upon joining, all Vitality members are initially on Blue Vitality status. As you earn more points, you move up to higher levels. These are Blue, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond Vitality.

If you don’t earn enough points to maintain a certain status, you will lose it and be downgraded to the relevant status at the start of the new calendar year – according to the amount of points you have earned.

How do I earn points?

You can earn points via any of the following methods:

  • Complete annual health assessments on the Discovery website.
  • Go for annual health checks like checking your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • You get points for doing an HIV test, having a pap smear and getting a dental check-up
    Complete a first-aid training course.
  • You can earn 100 points a day for visiting one of the fitness partners (gyms).
    You can earn 300 points for every parkrun event that you complete.
  • You can earn points by tracking your steps and activity with a FitBit, FitBug, Garmin, Jawbone, Apple Health App, Moves App, RunKeeper or the Strava App.
  • Complete running, cycling, swimming or canoeing races.
  • You can earn 20 points for each HealthyFood item that you purchase from….Important to remember – you also lose 20 points for every unhealthy food item you buy.
  • Earn points for losing weight on the Weigh-Less or Weight Watchers S.A. programme.

What benefits do I get as a Vitality member?

Should you meet the criteria to join Vitality, you can activate the programme by paying a monthly contribution of R199 for the main member. Additional costs apply for dependents.

Being a member of the Vitality programme will give you access to the benefits laid out in the graph below:

BenefitVitality Status      
AllBlue BronzeSilverGoldDiamond
Discount on hotel accommodation with selected hotels, including Tsogo Sun, Sun International, City Lodge, Protea Hotels and others. 15%20%25%30%35%
Discount on car rentals with Europcar.15%20%25%30%35%
Discount on flight tickets with Kulula, British Airways, Qantas or Emirates.15%20%25%30%35%
Become part of Team Vitality. Between 25% and 50% discount on entry fees for selected running and cycling races.
Discount on Greyhound bus tickets. 20%
Discount on Planet Fitness membership. 75% off a local gym membership, 60% off a national membership.
Discount on prepaid airtime with Cell C, Vodacom, MTN and Telkom. 5%
Discount on Run Walk For Life subscription. 80%
Discount when joining Weigh-Less.30%
Activate VitalityMobile with Cell C. Free calls to other VitalityMobile members and 50% data boost.
Discount on broadband subscription.Discount depends on the amount of data and the speed of the ADSL line.
Discount when joining Curves.Discount depends on the programme you join.
Receive cash back on HealthyCare products at both Dischem and Clicks.Up to 25% discount on your primary store and 10% on the secondary.
Receive cash back on HealthyFood products at Pick n Pay and Woolworths. Up to 25% discount on your primary store and 10% on the secondary.
Vouchers from KAUAI & Vida e Caff è .Reach your weekly fitness goals and earn beverage vouchers.
Discounted movie tickets from Ster-Kinekor.Dependant on the cinema.
Discount when joining Weight Watchers SA.30%
Discount on Virgin Active membership.75% off a local gym membership, 60% off a national membership.
Discount when attending the Allen Carr programme to help you stop smoking. 80%
Discount on Adventure Boot Camp for Women, selected CrossFit affiliates and S.W.E.A.T.25%

 

Benefits of Discovery's Vitality

As shown above, as a member of Vitality you will be able to get cash back on specific items if you make healthy food purchases at Pick and Pay and Woolworths. Saving a few bucks at the till every time you go grocery shopping is something you might not notice at first, but when you do the math at the end of the month, it really does add up.

Discounts at gyms are a significant benefit that Vitality members have, especially considering that staying fit isn’t always cheap.

In the end, staying healthy might also have an influence on the premium you pay for life insurance, as lifestyle changes like quitting smoking brings that premium right down.

Is it worth it?

At a time when healthy living and wellness is considered much more important than in the past, Discovery has tapped into a ready-made market of those looking to improve themselves.

Earning points for things that will aid your health in the long term seems like a good deal for your pocket, too – avoiding medical costs for chronic, preventable conditions is certainly the cheaper option in the long run.

Considering that many people aren’t necessarily the masters of self-motivation, a programme that incentivises its members to maintain a healthy lifestyle by rewarding them with discounts and cash backs on healthy purchases makes a lot of sense.

It is always good to ask, though: are the benefits worth the extra cost? If you are a sloth by nature and aren’t concerned with healthy living, motivation might not justify the expense of the benefit compared to getting a medical aid that suits your current lifestyle. While vitality itself has a lot of money saving benefits, it should not be a main consideration when choosing your actual medical aid scheme.

As with any decision that is going to affect your pocket, list the pros and cons of Vitality, and decide then if it’s something that will really work for you in the long run.

About The Author

Angie Gallagher

Angie Gallagher is a freelance writer in the Upper Karoo. Aside from writing content for Counting Coins, Angie has tried her hand at a few juvenile attempts at poetry filled with storms and stress, and a marginally successful radio station, Radio Grootoor, recorded on cassette tapes when she was ten.

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