A practical technology solution being rolled out across the country is bringing the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) closer to its members, and placing members in the driving seat.
“In order to better cater to the service needs of our growing membership base, GEMS found an innovative solution that enables members and prospective members to easily interact with the Scheme through convenient GEMS Self-Help Kiosks,” explains Liziwe Nkonyana, GEMS Executive: Communications and Member Affairs.
“So far we have rolled out 72 GEMS Self-Help Kiosks, which have assisted an average of 18 000 members per month. The first phase of GEMS Self-Help Kiosks were installed at GEMS Walk-in Centres, and we have expanded this service to government departments, pharmacies and other locations that are accessible for members.”
The GEMS Self-Help Kiosk allows members to access their tax certificates, request membership cards and retrieve membership certificates, check their savings balance and claims history, as well as access the GEMS service provider network and view their benefit option.
“We have specially-trained GEMS Ambassadors on hand to assist members to use the GEMS Self-Help Kiosk in various official languages. Members of the public service can learn more about GEMS and apply to join the Scheme using the Self-Help Kiosks,” Nkonyana adds.
“The great advantage of this development is that members are able to access these services directly, in person, with a friendly GEMS Ambassador to guide them where necessary. The feedback has been very positive, and many members are choosing to use this method of interacting with the Scheme for logging queries and requests.
“We have tried to position the kiosks at locations that are convenient for members, and we will increase the national footprint so that soon the majority of our members will be able to take advantage of the benefits of the GEMS Self-Help Kiosk.”
One particularly popular service available via the kiosks, particularly for members who are signing up on the new Emerald Value Option, is access to the growing list of GEMS network service providers.
“Our network provider lists are constantly growing, and the GEMS Self-Help Kiosks reflect these updates to bring members the most current information available. For example, last year we welcomed 1 092 specialists to our healthcare provider network, including 239 paediatricians, 315 obstetricians and gynaecologists, 327 physicians, 137 psychiatrists, and 74 anaesthetists. These are over and above our extensive and rapidly expanding network of healthcare facilities and general practitioners, which we at GEMS refer to as family practitioners,” she notes.
The Emerald Value Option, which came into effect in January, offers the same excellent benefits as the traditional GEMS Emerald Option at a substantially lower contribution rate. This benefit option is structured to promote coordination of care through GEMS network healthcare providers for improved member health, and reinforces the relationship between members and their chosen family practitioner. Due to the demand for this new benefit option, GEMS has extended the window for joining the Emerald Value Option until 15 March 2017.
“GEMS is always looking for ways to get closer to our members and better serve their needs. With the roll out of the GEMS Self-Help Kiosk, we hope that members will feel a greater sense of connectedness with the Scheme and be empowered to make the most of the benefits of GEMS membership,” Nkonyana concluded.