While the majority of doctors are doing the right thing, patients should be told when a doctor's fee will be higher than usual and they need to be able to know why.


Patients must know fees in advance

After stories revealing excessive fees charged by some doctors and specialists, Dr Dwayne Crombie, Managing Director of Bupa Health Insurance says patients must be given the chance to have informed financial consent.

"The number one concern we hear from our customers is the affordability of healthcare and their anger when they have an unexpected out-of-pocket cost," he says.

"This data highlights exactly why Bupa members want transparency around gaps fees."

"While the majority of doctors are doing the right thing, patients should know when a fee is higher than usual and be able to question why that is so."

"Any out of pocket costs, such as doctors' fees or hospital fees, must be known in advance."

"This is a critical component of informed financial consent."

"Patients should know in advance what they will be charged for a procedure, how that compares to other specialists, what their health insurer will cover them for and what out-of-pocket costs they will face."

"We all know the pressures of affordability of health insurance and health care."

"As a health insurer we have a role to play in that, which includes working with doctors and hospitals to make members aware of their costs, the choices customers are free to make and ensuring that the care they receive is most appropriate for them."

"While what out of pocket fees a doctor charges for a procedure doesn’t directly contribute to higher health insurance premiums, it does undermine the perceived value insurance provides."

"If customers have to pay out of pocket gaps because a fee is high, then people question what benefit insurance provides them, without realising where the cost is coming from and why they are having to pay it."