By Shaun Gillham
THOUSANDS of elderly former government employees are facing uncertainty over their medical support following a government decision to transfer them on to a state medical aid scheme.
MP Elza van Lingen, who heads the DA in the National Council of Provinces, has come out fighting for some 16000 former government employees who are now being transferred from Medihelp to the Government Employees’ Medical Scheme (GEMS) where they will allegedly receive fewer benefits.
The group of pensioners from around the country, who all retired before July 1992, are mostly over 80.
According to Van Lingen, who has slammed the November 2010 cabinet decision, there was no public participation and the decision had been unilaterally taken by government.
She said the administration of the pensioners onto the new scheme had been “chaotic”. Van Lingen explained that the pensioners were informed of this migration on February 10 through the press.
Andre du Plessis, one of the pensioners affected by the decision, said while he did not have a problem with GEMS, he was very concerned about the administration process to get members registered.
“After we were informed about the transfer to GEMS on February 10, we were told there would be an information session, we would be informed telephonically and we would get application forms. “Not one of these three things has happened,” he said.
This is a shortened version of an article that first appeared in the print edition of Weekend Post on Saturday March 31, 2012.