A significant step forward in empowering consumers
Bupa, Australia’s largest health insurer, has welcomed the launch of the Federal Government’s Medical Costs Finder website aimed at helping consumers better understand the costs involved when choosing a medical specialist for common hospital procedures.
The website represents a significant step forward in improving the visibility of out of pocket costs, average specialist fees, and a typical breakdown of the Medicare and private health insurance payments which may impact out of pocket costs.
Bupa’s Director of Health Partnerships and Innovation, Cindy Shay, said “Bupa supports initiatives that promote financial transparency and empower consumers to make informed decisions about their healthcare. We are hopeful that, in time, the website will also include specific information about specialists and their billing practices to provide a more complete picture.”
“The website is also an important resource in demonstrating the value of private health insurance through visual breakdowns of insurer contributions and the percentage of patients who experienced a gap-free procedure,” Ms Shay said.
Bupa has a number of its own initiatives in place that help members avoid ‘bill shock’ following common hospital procedures.
“We understand the cost of living pressures many Australians are living under. As such, we are proud to have established extensive arrangements with Private Hospitals and Specialists offering customers no gap or known-gap services.”
Bupa’ website also houses a number of tools to help customers understand cost implications including a procedure calculator that also incorporates hospital admission fees when using a Bupa Members First or Network Hospital with no additional co-payment.
“Ultimately, the best way for consumers to avoid ‘bill shock’ and minimise costs is by being proactive and ensuring they are receiving the appropriate cover for their stage of life and healthcare needs,” said Ms Shay.
To help member navigate costs, Bupa also encourages members to speak with a Bupa health insurance expert before seeking a referral from their GP.
“Our health insurance team are able to identify all specialists with no or known-gap fee structures. Members can then compile a list for discussion with their referring GP,” said Ms Shay.
Australians are also encouraged to utilise the Australian Medical Association’s ‘informed financial consent’ brochures, which provide guidance on the types of questions that should be asked of doctors to fully understand fees upfront.