Your Gems queries answered
Does Gems cover private hospitals? Can I use a doctor of my choice?
Yes, the Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems) does cover treatment in private hospitals. Members on the Onyx, Emerald and Ruby options have access to any private hospital, while members on the Beryl option have access to a private hospital network. But members on the Sapphire option only have access to public hospitals. If you are a member of Onyx, Emerald or Ruby, you are free to visit a doctor of your choice. On Sapphire and Beryl, however, you will need to go to a doctor in the prime cure network.
Being a member of Gems, can I change from one option to another before the end of the current year?
A member is entitled to change from one to another benefit option on January 1 every year. A request for an option change during the course of the year must be approved by the board.
How much would the Emerald option cost if this is the choice of a principal member with four dependants?
Monthly contributions are determined by the option selected, an employees monthly income (basic salary) and the number and age of dependants (including whether they are full-time students) to be covered. Call the Gems call centre on 0860 00 4367 for further assistance.
Where can I get Gems application forms?
There are several ways to obtain an application form:
- Ask your HR department.
- Download a form from the Gems website (www.gems.gov.za) by viewing the forms link.
- Call the call centre on 0860 00 4367 and request a form.
- Send an SMS with your persal/persol number to 083 450 4367 and Gems will call you.
- Send an email to [email protected] and Gems will send you a form.
- Send a fax to 0861 00 4367 requesting a form (specify your contact details so that Gems can send you a form).
- Send a letter requesting a form to Gems, Private Bag X782, Cape Town, 8000.
- Visit one of the Gems regional helpdesks at the following locations:
- Pretoria: Shop 51, Sancardia Building, corner of Beatrix and Church Streets, Arcadia.
- Johannesburg: MHG Regional Office, 101 De Korte Street, Braamfontein.
- Cape Town: MHG Head Office, 61 St Georges Mall, off Adderley Street.
- Durban: Metropolitan Client Service Office, 391 Smith Street.
- Bloemfontein: Metropolitan Building, 96 Henry Street, Westdene.
- Kimberley: Metropolitan Client Service Office, 7 George Street.
- Polokwane: Metropolitan Building, 51 Market Street.
- Umtata: Metropolitan Building, 23 Nelson Mandela Drive.
- Nelspruit: Metropolitan Client Service Office, corner of Russel and Ehmke streets.
- Mafikeng: Metropolitan Building, No 13, corner of Tillard and Robinson streets.
Can I join Vitality for my health if I am a member of Gems?
Gems does not offer a loyalty programme and employees are encouraged to engage directly with their loyalty programme provider regarding enquiries of this nature and their continued participation.
I was suspended from Gems in April because it did not receive my first contribution in December last year. My worry is that the duration of my suspension is unknown. Gems is threatening to terminate my membership but it has received my contributions for the past three months.
Gems seeks to resolve this query as a matter of urgency. Please contact the call centre on 0860 00 4367 or SMS your persal/persol number to 083 450 4367.
Some optometrists are exploiting state employees concerning Gems. They lie to you that Gems confirmed to pay R3 000 and let you sign a contract, only to find out that they were lying. An awareness campaign is needed immediately.
Information about the abuse of member funds and services is invaluable. Please contact us on 0860 00 4367 in any instance where you believe that the scheme and its members are being misused and/or defrauded. All calls are treated confidentially.
As grade R practitioners, can we join Gems? We also need medical aid. Other schemes are rejecting us. I tried to call Gems, but no answer.
If you are in the employment (either permanent or on a contract for six months and longer) of a department listed in the Public Service Act (for example, a provincial department of education) you should be able to join Gems. For further assistance call the scheme on 0860 00 4367 or SMS your persal/persol number to 083 450 4367.
Dr Eugene Watson is the principal officer of Gems
Fun way to get water
If you have enough drinkable water in a borehole near your school, your institution could benefit from a multimillion-rand expansion drive by PlayPumps International and Roundabout Outdoors.
The drive aims to improve the lives of about 10-million people over the next three years through the delivery of more PlayPump water systems to communities where access to water is still a challenge.
The PlayPump water-pumping system has been internationally recognised as one of the most innovative providers of water in the world.
As children have fun on a roundabout, their actions put into motion a water pump that could generate up to 1 400 litres of water an hour from a borehole with a depth of between 40m and 100m.
A simple tap provides access to the water. Excess water is diverted back down the borehole.
With the help of NGOs, businesses and donor foundations, about 800 pumps have been installed in South African communities, benefiting about one million people.
Following a $16,4-million (about R113-million) commitment from the United States government, the Case Foundation and the MCJ Foundation, another 1 000 PlayPump systems can now be installed across Africa.
If your school has a borehole and you think it qualifies for a PlayPump system, SMS teacher and roundabout to 32510 (SMS costs R1). the Teacher will put Roundabout Outdoor and PlayPumps International in touch with your school.—the Teacher reporter