KIGALI - About 10,000 retired workers are set to benefit from medical cover through the government medical insurance agency, RAMA, a senior official at the agency announced recently.
Dr. Innocent Gakwaya, the deputy Director General in charge of benefits in the newly created body, Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) said in an interview that the pensioners would start benefiting, effective September this year.
“At that age (retirement age – 55 years), that’s when these people need medical care the most and that is why we decided to help them to continue getting these services,” Gakwaya said.
The scheme would also include their spouses and one of their children.
The beneficiaries are those who were affiliates of RAMA in both government and private sector. It would also include Rwandans, who were working in government institutions but retired before the medical agency was established.
Established in March 2001, RAMA now has about 300,000 members, 90 percent of them civil servants. It has 13 pharmacies; two in Kigali City and 11 upcountry. The agency also has seven partner pharmacies, six of them in Kigali.
“The funds to cover their medical insurance will be deducted from their annual pension. We have the medical cards ready and the program will take effect when they get their next pension in September,” noted Gakwaya.
He explained that only 7.5 percent would be deducted from the pension while the government will cover the other 7.5 percent.
The move was welcomed by the former public workers.
“It’s a good thing to think about us. We are now using mutuelle (medical scheme) but cannot access numerous medical services using it; and they are expensive.
The issue remaining is when we will get it (RAMA) since we filled the application forms,” said Augustin Rutikara, a former director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Rutikara retired in February last year.
Ambassador Eugene Munyakayanza, a former Permanent Secretary in the same ministry, said: “Although I am yet to announce my retirement, this is a good idea by the government to help pensioners retire in dignity.”
Munyakayanza is also a former High Commissioner to South Africa.