The medical scheme GetMed has been deregistered, the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) said. It advised members to urgently seek advice on their medical cover.
"GetMed medical scheme is no longer a registered medical scheme and the CMS cannot offer the members of the scheme the same protection as members of other registered medical schemes."
The council became aware of an unregistered GetMed product called GetMed health protection plan in 2009, as a result of complaints it was receiving about the company. It started off as a range of benefit options for the sick fund of the bargaining council for the building industry in Kimberley.
However, GetMed expanded the product outside the bargaining council environment, marketing it at an attractive price countrywide to members of the public and to companies for their employees. At least 2500 members enrolled.
The Registrar for Medical Schemes found that the product fell within the definition of a medical scheme in terms of the Medical Schemes Act. Informed of this, the directors of GetMed said they were eager to register as a medical scheme.
The registrar's office conditionally registered the GetMed medical scheme on December 17 2010 to give the existing members protection, but the company failed to meet the necessary conditions.
These were: to provide a financial guarantee, to pay the application fees for the accreditation of the administration and managed care organisations, to provide further documentation to the registrar's accreditation unit, and to provide a reinsurance contract for evaluation by the registrar.
"Despite various correspondence and meetings in this regard, GetMed medical scheme failed to comply with the conditions set out above," CMS said. The registrar had also noticed a spike in complaints relating to payment of claims. A letter was sent to GetMed informing it that its registration had been cancelled.
"Based on the numerous complaints recently received by this office, the registrar is concerned whether GetMed medical scheme will be able to honour the claims of their members," CMS said "The registrar regrets that even after the leniency afforded to GetMed medical scheme to assure its compliance to the Medical Schemes Act, the scheme has failed to do so."
Comment from GetMed could not immediately be obtained.
(Sapa, September 2011)
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