Access to quality health services by thousands of members under Cimas medical aid society might become a huge challenge after it increased membership contribution fees by 50%, citing high cost of claims.
By Phyllis Mbanje
In a recent circular, Cimas acting managing director Rodrick Takawira said the fee increase would only affect the top two packages.
“The society would like to advise its valued members on the upward review of contribution rates for individuals on our two top packages, Individual Private and Individual Medexec packages” part of the communiqué reads.
Under the Individual Private scheme, a member would now fork out $146, while a spouse will pay $146. A child under the same scheme will pay $71 and a student $118 respectively.
For the top scheme for the medical aid, the Individual Medexec, the member and spouse each pay $174, a child $104 and a student $174.
This development comes hardly a month after Cimas suspended its online drug facility, forcing members to pay cash when buying drugs. The medical society had over 200 000 subscribers as of last month.
Members complained that it was unfair since they were making contributions as a form of insurance in the event they fell sick and needed medication.
Cimas said the move was “unavoidable, given the extent of fraudulent claims that threaten to undermine” the viability of the society.
“It is with your interests in mind, as members of the society, that we have reluctantly had to suspend the online drug facility,” part of the notice read.
Cimas tried to water down the move by sending yet another circular apologising for not giving adequate notice.
It also said measures were in place to ensure that those on pre-authorised chronic medication could still access their drugs from approved pharmacies.
The Cimas online drug facility was introduced in 2004 to enable members to access drugs from pharmacies without having to pay cash up-front.
However, the society claimed that during the first quarter of this year, there was a 55% rise in drug claims compared to the same period in 2014, even though there were fewer members.
Preliminary investigations revealed that there was gross abuse of the facility.