Harare (New Ziana) – THE Government on Tuesday announced that it would release additional funds monthly to rescue, Premier Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) in a move expected to improve access to health services by civil servants.
Addressing journalists, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, said the attention of Government was drawn to serious challenges being faced by its employees when they seek medical attention on the strength of their PSMAS membership cards.
In many instances, service providers were refusing to honour the cards, citing non-payment of claims submitted to PSMAS.
This had resulted in members being required to make payments up-front, often in foreign currency. Where PSMAS medical aid cards are accepted, significant co-payments are also required, in respect of both consultation fees and the purchase of prescription drugs.
“Government has committed additional financial resources on a monthly basis to ensure the viability of PSMAS and PSMI to deliver on their core mandate. The funds are targeted to retire the debt to PSMI and other third-party service providers.
“That support will extend to PSMI to pay its workforce and procure adequate medical drugs consistently,” he said.
“He said PSMAS has confirmed to Government that the society had accumulated significant debts with service providers.
“Concerned about the failure by employees to access health services posed by this situation, Government urged PSMAS to use a significant proportion of the money from the national Treasury to retire the debt owed to the service providers in order to restore the integrity of the PSMAS medical aid card used by employees to access health services.
“The restoration of trust will also remove the distress caused by huge shortfalls to service providers that would require civil servants to find the money for co-payments,” he said.
VP Chiwenga assured Government workers, who form 90 percent of contributions to PSMAS, that it would continue to support and ensure “that Government’s support for their healthcare needs remains intact and unwavering”.
“In addition, effective measures have been and will continue to be undertaken to secure the character and viability of PSMAS which most of them depend on for healthcare services,” he said.
Government currently supports each employee who chooses to be a PSMAS member by paying 80 percent of subscriptions translating to at least USD5 million in employer’s contribution monthly and USD60 million annually.
He dismissed reports that Government would take over PSMAS.