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GEMS is committed to providing you with all the information you require so that you can make the best possible decisions about the healthcare cover of employees in your department.
Since its inception seven years ago, GEMS has continued to go from strength to strength. Today we are the second biggest and fastest growing medical scheme in South Africa with over 1.7 million beneficiaries under our cover in total. This phenomenal growth is largely due to the close attention being paid to member service and to meeting and exceeding the expectations of our members.
Outstanding, accessible healthcare benefits
GEMS provides members with value for money benefits that are unmatched in the medical schemes industry. GEMS benefit plans are between 10% and 20% less expensive than those offered by most schemes while its benefits are at least as good and, in many cases, better. The Scheme's benefits are offered across five different options ensuring that the needs of each individual member can be met.
Public service employees are entitled to the employer medical scheme subsidy, whereby the employer pays a portion of the contribution and the employee pays the balance. This makes GEMS membership extremely worthwhile with medical scheme subsidies of 75% and, in certain cases - even 100%, up to a limit of R2 760, when joining GEMS.
An extensive provider network
GEMS has an established network of service providers, which continues to grow in line with the increasing membership of the Scheme. There are more than 12 000 healthcare providers spanning 35 disciplines on the GEMS Provider Network, which includes general practitioners, optometrists, dentists, physiotherapists, psychologists and a wide range of other service providers.
An excellent choice for women
A total of 64.7% of GEMS members are women. The Scheme offers a number of healthcare benefits just for women, such as breast reductions and contraception. GEMS also has an excellent maternity programme for new and expectant mothers. This programme provides support, information and advice through all the stages of pregnancy, confinement and the postnatal period. GEMS has a clear insight into the healthcare needs of women, as two thirds of the Scheme's executive committee are women and a total of 70% of the GEMS staff complement is female.
GEMS regards it as imperative for members to be able to actively participate in the running of their scheme. The Scheme's third member trustee election was held in June 2011 where a record number of 113 candidates stood. This demonstrates the high level of active member participation in the affairs of GEMS.
Effective member communications
It is important to GEMS that members are kept informed of available services, benefit entitlements, pertinent health information and special events. The Scheme therefore places a significant emphasis on communicating effectively with its diverse membership on an ongoing basis. Information is shared via SMSs, and quarterly and ad hoc newsletters, as these have proven to be the most effective means of communicating with members. In order to ensure that each and every member has access to the information they need Scheme material, including member brochures and application material, is translated into all the official South African languages while the GEMS call centre is also able to handle queries in any one of these languages. All of the above is done in line with the GEMS Member Consumerism strategy, which aims to inform members about their benefits as well as their rights as consumers. The effectiveness of this long-term strategy is monitored continuously.
An award-winning scheme
GEMS was honoured to be awarded first place in the Medical Schemes category of the 2011 Ask Afrika Orange Index. The Index is a critical and independent evaluation of service levels by consumers, 10 000 of whom participated in 2011.
Fulfiling our mandate
Despite the rapid growth of GEMS, the Scheme continues to offer highly efficient and personal service, fulfilling its mandate to provide public service employees with equitable access to quality healthcare cover.
Thank you to all members and participating HR practitioners for your continued support of GEMS. We look forward to working with you well into the future.
Mr Zava Colbert Rikhotso
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