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Medical Schemes
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
A real gem

The Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) has reported a membership total in excess of 127 000 principal members, representing medical scheme coverage for approximately 355 000 lives. This steady growth means that GEMS has, within the first four months of 2007, virtually doubled its membership. The scheme is now the fourth largest medical scheme in the country.

“An increasing membership base is not our primary objective but it certainly is an indicator we use to gauge the manner in which employees perceive our benefit and service offering,” says Dr Eugene Watson, Principal Officer of GEMS.
“Membership applications come from over 110 departments in the public service from right across the country. Interestingly, our membership base in the Eastern Cape has shown a monthly growth of 25% since December last year, while we now cover more than 20% of the employees in the Northern Cape,” notes Dr Watson. “The most popular benefit option seems to be Emerald while our lowest-cost option, Sapphire, is growing its membership at a brisk pace.”
GEMS members are currently in the process of voting for representatives to the GEMS Board of Trustees. In total, the scheme has received 75 applications for nominations. They have been narrowed down to 55 eligible nominees, all principal members belonging to GEMS, whose details have been sent to all members for participation in the voting process.
“Through this inaugural trustee election members will be choosing 50% of the trustees to serve on the Board of Trustees. We have received a broad spectrum of nominees, from a variety of departments, salary levels, sectoral experience, educational backgrounds, races and both genders,” he says. “By choosing who they want to have as trustees on the Board, GEMS members will be empowered through the knowledge that the money they entrust to the scheme is looked after and spent with due care, diligence, skill and in good faith.”
The conclusion of the Scheme’s first financial year and audit, the election process and the continued operational excellence are indicative of the manner in which GEMS seeks to fulfil its promise of service excellence.
The election process ended 28th May 2007.
Gems was registered on 1st January 2005, in accordance with the Medical Schemes Act 1998. The scheme reports to the Registrar of the Council for Medical Schemes and is defined as a body corporate that undertakes liability related to its members’ healthcare benefits in exchange for receiving contributions. GEMS is a separate legal entity that does not form part of any Government department or public entity.
• GEMS has selected ‘best of breed’ healthcare partners, procured through a transparent tender process. These partners are:
Metropolitan Health Group, which handles the scheme’s administration;
• Netcare 911 to deliver emergency medical services;
Prime Cure for primary healthcare and hospital services for two of the options;
• Medscheme Health Risk Solutions, which provides managed care services and an HIV/Aids management programme; and,
• Medipost, which provides chronic medication services to members.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:20.7 1st August, 2007
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