By Michael Gwarisa
ZIMBABWE’S second largest Medical Aid company, CIMAS has warned its subscribers to stop lending their CIMAS Card to relatives and friends following increased cases of card loaning for various reasons chief among them being the need to escape high medical services costs at both private and public health institutions.
The development comes in the wake of increased cases of individuals who lend out their CIMAS cards to individuals who are not subscribers to the company’s medical aid services.
In a statement, CIMAS spoke strongly against the move and warned offenders against the deed.
“Please be advised that lending your CIMAS card to friends and relatives is a criminal offense which can lead to prosecution and as such, members are being warned against this.
“Card loaning affects member contribution and benefits,” said CIMAS.
It is reported that in some cases, Card holders would lend their CIMAS cards to people for a meager payment which is far below what some hospitals and private medical institutions charge. In other instances, Card holders would use their cards to purchase groceries in shops.
Speaking to HealthTimes, Mrs Mary Tinarwo a CIMAS card holder said at times it is pointless to keep on contributing to a medical aid which one does not use regularly hence the need for making an extra buck or helping out a relative in need from their contributions.
“Sometimes you contribute for more than three years without even falling sick or being admitted into hospital. Its better to lend the card a reasonable fee to anyone who will be in need, that way, at least you benefit something.
“At times it is costly to get your elderly relative health care access, for example, if you have someone who is above 60 years and he/she falls sick and you are broke, you are left with no option but to lend them your card. (Haungasiye munhu achifa)(You cant let someone die under your watch,” said Mrs Tinarwo.
In Zimbabwe medical aid schemes lose close to $200 million annually through fraud. Card loaning is one type of fraud that is a major cost driver for funders. Card loaning is driven by the patient and the provider colluding or either party acting independently.
Meanwhile, CIMAS is working on introducing a Biometric system for its members in a bid to curb fraud. The system will link members’ fingerprints to membership cards to ensure that more funds get used on patient care in addition to combating the problematic levels of card loaning in Zimbabwe.
Currently Cimas had been using a membership card with the members’ identity picture. Cimas has also put in place control systems that ensure that a member accompanies their claim form at all stations from the reception to the doctor. – Health Times