Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Patients with chronic illnesses under Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) will, with immediate effect, pay not more than 10 percent of the total cost of prescribed medication following an arrangement made by the society to cushion them against high shortfalls.
PSMAS public relations manager Mr Arthur Choga, however, said this facility was available to selected pharmacies with which the society made arrangements.
“With immediate effect, the society is reducing shortfalls on key drugs to an average of 10 percent thus allowing members to access these drugs. The drugs covered under this initiative are those for chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and heart conditions. This arrangement only applies to selected pharmacies which we have reached an agreement with,” he said.
Mr Choga said the society was concerned by the unprecedented increase in the cost of medicines, which has seen members parting with huge shortfalls and or co-payments.
He said the shortfalls and co-payments were necessitated by increases in service provider charges which went up by between 100 and 50 percent over the past six months.
Mr Choga said some service providers were demanding payments in US dollars.
He said the shortage of foreign currency and rising of the interbank rate were also contributing to increased costs of medicine since the majority of medicines were imported.
“The 10 percent shortfall payment aforesaid is meant to ensure the viability, affordability and sustainability of the Fund in the face of rising costs of bringing medication into the country.
“We believe that this intervention will help your members, to continue to get value from their membership,” said Mr Choga.
He said since the arrangement was temporary, PSMAS was looking forward to corrective adjustment of medical costs and subscriptions so that the society will also be able to recover costs incurred under the fund.
The Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe has since appealed for an all-stakeholders’ meeting to discuss ways of mitigating current challenges in the health sector, which include high costs of medical care resulting in huge shortfalls and co-payments, thereby rendering medical aid useless.