Introducing 'Friends of GEMS' to all members
Did you know that over 12 000 healthcare providers spanning 46 disciplines have registered as "Friends" since the launch in October 2007. The Friends of GEMS service was made available to GEMS members registered on the Beryl and Sapphire options in January 2008 and, following the significant response, the service was extended to members on the Ruby, Emerald and Onyx options. "Friends" is now readily accessed by all GEMS members.
What is 'Friends of GEMS'?
It is an innovative and accessible SMS and online GEMS service where members request and receive the contact details of cost effective healthcare providers in their vicinity.
Countrywide, various healthcare providers such as general practitioners, certain specialists, hospitals, dentists, pharmacies, physiotherapists, psychologists, speech therapists and optometrists, amongst others, have signed up to become 'Friends of GEMS'. These healthcare providers have agreed not to charge GEMS members any additional surcharges and co-payments for services rendered. All it takes for you to find one of these 'Friends of GEMS' in your area, is as easy as sending a SMS to 33489.
For example, if you live in Pretoria North and you need to see a dentist, you simply send an SMS as follows: Member number, Dentist, Pretoria North.
You will immediately receive a reply message via SMS reflecting the contact details of up to three dentists in the Pretoria North area who are 'Friends of GEMS'.
Should there be no provider registered on the programme in the requested area, the system will automatically search in the surrounding/neighbouring suburbs. This will happen without having to resend another SMS.
SMSs are competitively priced at R1.50, which includes the response SMS. If you still prefer to visit your own GP or another healthcare service provider, GEMS will continue to pay their fees regardless of whether they are a 'Friend of GEMS' or not. The only difference is that they might charge you a surcharge or 'cash upfront" for a consultation or service if they are not a 'Friend of GEMS'.
Using the registry gives you certainty over what the provider is charging you. There are currently more than 10 000 service provider locations countrywide on the 'Friends of GEMS' registry. With access to so many medical professionals, you will have even more choice to find the help you need. 'Friends of GEMS' is just one more way in which GEMS is striving to make access to private healthcare convenient, easy and affordable. It may be a good idea to tell your doctor about the programme and encourage him/her to join!
We hope you will find this a very handy tool in the management of your family's healthcare and GEMS experience.