26 October 2009
Since its launch in January 2006, South Africa’s Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems) has grown its membership base to more than 400 000 principal members, and now provides healthcare cover to over a million beneficiaries.
Speaking in Durban this week, Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi pointed out that over 50% of Gems members were previously unable to access their employer subsidies for medical schemes.
“This means that in excess of 500 000 of these individuals did not previously enjoy medical scheme cover, and that they now do,” he told delegates at the 2009 Gems Symposium.
“What makes these facts and figures so remarkable is that the impressive growth to date was achieved in a recessionary climate.”
Ensuring a healthy workforce
Baloyi said Gems had managed a myriad of healthcare challenges effectively, and ensured a healthy workforce that could participate productively in South Africa’s economy.
“In so doing, the many successes and considerable growth of Gems is having a powerful knock-on effect in the South African public service and on the overall economy of our country.
“Gems’ success as a medical scheme serve as positive proof that the government as an employer can indeed make an indelible mark,” Baloyi said.