Sunday 23 November 2014

Here is HTT’s calculator for the 2015 Discovery Health plans

Yes, it’s that time of the year again – time to choose your Discovery Health plan… all those options and all that paperwork to read and understand…
If you are already on a Discovery Health plan you don't have to do anything if you want to stay on the same plan for 2015.
If, however, you would like to change to another plan, please let your employer know as soon as possible as you must send your new health plan details to Discovery Health by 15 December 2014.
This article might save you a lot of reading and paging through all the web pages on the Discovery web site.   image_thumb1
The web site contains detailed information about each plan and the costs.
Note: the costs shown on that comparison page are for 2014 – not updated yet Sad smile  Refer to details below for Discovery Health 2015 prices.
There’s a comparison page that allows you to compare up to 3 different plans:

To see what is new in 2015: 

Downloadable pdf’s are also listed at the bottom of this article under Links to documents 2015

Download HTT’s 2015 calculator that will assist you in costing the various options [2.7MB]: DiscoveryHealthOptions2015calculator.xls

{Thanks to for hosting the file for free!}   
So, how much does each plan cost? 

HTT’s Discovery Health Plan 2015 calculator:
I have collated all the information on the various plans into a spreadsheet (calculator) and you can edit the purple cells to fill in the number of people in your family and allows you to compare the costs of each plan (in a table and in a chart). 

Open the calculator to assist with narrowing your choice of plan as follows:
Use the spreadsheet’s “PlanComparisons” worksheet (and the pyramids in each plan’s pdf) to compare the plans - note the missing parts of the pyramids to see "what's missing" from each plan.
Note too, that the size of each segment shows smaller ATBs and larger SPGs.

So, if you want a plan with "out of hospital" cover, then you need a plan that has an MSA (Medical Savings Account) - so don't choose the Core plans (since Core plans don't provide MSA).
See this posting for explanations of these terms: Are you MSA, ATB, SPG‘ed out with Discovery Health – here’s a brief explanation of these terms
To summarise: If you need that "parachute" to kick in when out of hospital expenses get too much then you need a plan that offers the ATB facility (Above Threshold Benefit): so select from the Executive, Comprehensive or Priority plans (either: Executive, Classic Comprehensive, Essential Comprehensive, Classic Priority or Essential Priority).
Note: Priority plan has "limited ATB"
The Self Payment Gap is the amount that you need to pay once you have run out of MSA.
If you want a small SPG (Self Payment Gap) then you need to select one of the Comprehensive plans. If you want zero SPG (Self Payment Gap) then you need to select the Executive plan (as you can see the smaller the gap, the more expensive the plan becomes).

The DeltaSaver plans are similar to the Saver plans; and
the DeltaCore plans are similar to the Core plans except (mainly) that you are limited to the Delta network of hospitals (and you pay about 25% less)
Use the flowchart in the worksheet "ChoosePlanFlowChart" to help decide what kind of medical cover you need (also pasted here):
Using the spreadsheet (using the 'Figures2015' worksheet):
[Please read the disclaimer at the top of the spreadsheet :) ]
Modify the following “purple” cells to suit your situation i.e. number of dependants, Vitality, Discovery card.

Compiling the spreadsheet has highlighted some points which I did not understand previously and I am sure the following pointers will assist you in choosing which plan is best for you:
· There are 8 categories of cover: Executive, Comprehensive, Priority, Saver, Delta Saver, Core, Delta Core and KeyCare.
· Each of these categories sometimes have sub-categories: Classic, Classic Delta, Essential, Essential Delta, and Coastal.
The above 2 statements are very important in understanding how Discovery health plans have been organised… so read them and understand how categories have been split into sub-categories.
· The "Saver" and “Core” plans are cheaper mainly because they have no ATB (Above Threshold Benefit) which means when your out-of-hospital expenses have used up your MSA (Medical Savings Account) then you will need to pay all out of hospital costs out of your (after tax) pocket.  All the other plans have an ATB which kicks in as soon as you have paid a certain amount (the “gap”).
· The “Priority” plans are cheaper mainly because they have co-payments for some hospital procedures [refer to the “PriorityCoPayments” worksheet]
· If you only need a ‘hospital plan’, then the “core” or "saver" plans are for you… "Core" have no MSA nor ATB and "Saver" plans have a small MSA - remember that out of hospital expenses can add up very quickly e.g. MRI scans etc. and can wipe out the monthly savings of being on a cheaper plan (although a maximum of R1,800 will be paid out of your MSA (or out of your pocket if you're on the "Core" plan), the remainder comes out of your in-hospital benefit)
· “Classic” and “Essential” plans have almost the same in-hospital cover except for the rate paid: Classic pays up to 300% of the Discovery Health rate while Essential pays up to the Discovery Health rate. [In my experience, the doctors will charge the maximum that they can! So, if you have cover for the 300% then that’s what they’ll charge. It is no indication of their “rate”]
· The MSA amount is fixed according to the plan you're on (25% or 15% of your contribution).
· The “prescribed medicine” sub-limit has some widely differing benefits so study these carefully when selecting your plan.
· Note the additional saving when buying your chronic medication from Dischem: Earn up to 25% cash back by activating ChroniCare at 
· Check your year’s benefit usage by logging in on the Discovery web site: ->Discovery Health ->Benefits & Cover ->Benefits Used.  This will give you an idea of what cover you have used this year (Note: the past usage is no indication of next year’s needs).

Bottom line: nobody can tell you which plan you need to take – it’s your decision based on i) how much you can afford vs ii) how much you think you will need cover vs iii) how much you think you can cover yourself from your own emergency funds.

Use the calculator to compare the pyramids (cover differences) and graphs to compare costs.
If you see any errors in this article, or in the calculator, or suggestions for improvement, then please let me know so that everyone can benefit) by leaving a comment or emailing me: HandyTechTipper at

* The last date to make changes to your plans is Friday 13th December 2013. 

Terms to remember:
Medical Savings Account (MSA)
Insured Network Benefit (INB)
Above Threshold Benefit (ATB)
Discovery Health Rate (DHR)
See here for an explanation: 

For new Discovery Health members: look here at this special joining incentive:


2015 Discovery Vitality rates per month:

Member:  R185 pm
Member+1:  R219 pm
Member+2+: R249 pm

2015 Discovery Credit Card fees (monthly)
Platinum R65 pm = R780 (was R725)
Gold R42.50 pm = R510 (was R455)
Blue R42.50 pm = R510 (was R38pm)

Second card: R22pm = R264 (was R240)
Discovery Miles yearly fee R350 (was R350)
Fast Miles subscription yearly fee R2,950 (was R2950)

Links to documents 2015:

See here for other HTT (HandyTechTipper) calculators:

See here for more info on Discovery:

Sunday 19 October 2014

Samsung Galaxy S4 WiFi “Unable to obtain IP address” problem [SOLVED]

I have managed to solve a colleague’s problem with his Samsung Galaxy S4 phone on his home WiFi network: Error “Obtaining IP address”, then error: “Failed to obtain IP address”.

The problem appeared after he had installed a WiFi range extender device in his home.  All other devices like iPhones, iPads, Blackberries were “happy” and connected to the now (very) extended WiFi network without any problems and with greater range in the house.  So, for them, the problem of no coverage in their bedrooms was solved.SolvedStamp

The initial connection was successful for a few hours (and sometimes for a whole day), but then the connection was dropped and the S4 phone was unable to connect and showed an error: “Unable to obtain IP address”.  A restart of the TP-link extender usually fixed the problem for another (short) period of time.

Main ADSL router: Billion BIPAC 7300G/NA
Security: Security: WPA2-PSK (AES), AES-CCMP
WiFi extender: the TP-Link TL-WA850RE (EU) Ver: 1.25 {great device, by the way – and the after sales support team is fast and friendly}
S4 phones: Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9500
Android version: 4.4.2

Debugging steps:
1) I took the the WiFi extender to a friend’s house to test with the S4s and iPhones – all seem to be connecting well with no “Unable to obtain IP address” problem on the S4 – the duration of this test was too short, so I couldn’t really isolate the problem.  In fact, the friend also decided to buy one of those TP-Link extenders for themselves.
2) Change the channel to another unused channel – I used the Android app “WiFi Analyser” – this is a great free app and it has helped me extend the range of many-a-friend’s WiFi signals by reducing interference from nearby signals:
3) I changed the TPlink extender to have a different SSID from the main WiFi router – this is not ideal as I want the devices to auto-switch between the APs (Access Points) – this was a good workaround – but not ideal – and I wanted to get back to using the same SSID in the WiFi extender as on the main WiFi router.  So, reverted back to the original configuration of having a single, seamless SSID for the main WiFi router and the TPlink extender.
4) I contacted the friendly support team at TP-Link – they too were unable to solve the problem (they suggested many of the steps below)
5) I changed the config on the main WiFi router to give the S4 phone a fixed IP address.
6) I borrowed another brand new S4 phone – it had the same problem!
7) I changed the config on the main WiFi router to give the TPlink extender a fixed IP address.
8) I reset the TPlink WiFi extender (to factory default settings) and reconfigured it.
9) I looked at the TPLink system log files (system tools->system log) when the S4 failed to connect to WiFi.

So, what was the solution?:
After Googling a lot, I found some explanations describing how some old WiFi routers were released before the final WiFi protocols were defined – and suggested upgrading the WiFi router’s firmware.  This wasn’t applicable to the Billion router, because there was no new firmware on the manufacturer’s site Sad smile
I then found a forum that had the answer: a user called “Slug” suggested “…then the problem is most likely to be with your home Wi-Fi and not the handset.  Check that your Wi-Fi router is running the most recent firmware, and also that it's using AES rather than TKIP encryption as I've had problems with several different Android devices connecting to APs using the latter.”
Another user called “Soooperpotatonoted:

…S4 works fine except for WiFi.  I noticed a limit of a 4Mbps download speed (upload is fine) when using WPA2-PSK (AES) or (TKIP/AES) security modes on my router.  All other 802.11n phones and computers in the house are hitting around 30+ Mbps download on this setting.  However, when I set the security mode to the older WPA2-PSK (TKIP), I get speeds at about 20 Mbps download on my S4.  This is an improvement, but now using TKIP I've limited all other devices in my house to 802.11g speeds instead of the faster 802.11n speed that AES uses.

So, I decided to check my router’s security WPA2 algorithm, and sure enough it was set to AES – when I changed it to TKIP, then the connection problem went away.  I was hesitant to say it was fixed until after I waited for 2 or 3 days… and sure enough, it has been at least 4 days now, and that error “Obtaining IP address”, and “Failed to obtain IP address” has not reappeared Smile

So, even though Soooperpotato says that the speed is only 20Mps instead of 30+ Mbps, I’m happy with the stability.

So, if you are having this problem, go to your main router’s Wireless LAN settings page, and change the router’s security WPA2 algorithm from AES to TKIP: image

Thanks again to the TP-link support team for trying to assist – I hope this information will also help them to help their customers.
Also, I found out that the TP-Link extender has an Ethernet port that allows the Extender to function as a wireless adapter to connect wired devices – this means that if you have a device (like a TV) that doesn’t have WiFi, then you can plug its LAN connection into the extender and the TP-link device will then connect over WiFi to your LAN.



I purchased my TP-link WiFi extender for only R359 (with free delivery) from here:

Thursday 06 March 2014

How to figure out when your power will be cut in Cape Town with the 2014 load shedding schedules from Eskom

To figure out when your power will be cut…  follow these easy steps:

Step 1) Go to the Eskom page and see what “Shedding Stage” Eskom is in:
image It can be one of Stage 1 or Stage 2 or Stage 3. (Stage 3 is much worse than Stage 1)

Step 2) Next step depends on which stage Eskom is in.
Step 2a) If Eskom is in Stage 1 or Stage 2 then: 
i. Go to this page and click on the area where you live:
If your area doesn’t appear – then (I think) you are lucky that you will not be affected by Stage 1 or Stage 2 shedding.

ii. If in Stage 1 then the areas in those maps will only be load shed on certain days of the week.
iii. If in Stage 2 then the areas in those maps will be load shed on every day of the week.

Step 2b) If Eskom is in Stage 3 then:
i. Go to this page   and click on “map” to see which area you live in
and the 3 times that you will be affected which is printed on the top right of the map:

I hope this makes it easier to figure out what’s going on?

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Copyright © 2008 HandyTechTipper. All articles are released under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 South Africa license, unless where otherwise stated.