Is Private Health Insurance or Doctors a Rip Off?

private health insurance rip offHow can you save your money when using our healthcare services?

We have recently had some interesting media reports on the best value for money private health insurers, such as HBF and the least value NIB. We have become increasingly concerned about excluded procedures and significant patient gaps amongst these schemes.

It is important to note that a number of procedures and tests may no longer be covered by Medicare, which means that you may be further out of pocket if your private healthcare insurer declines to cover these procedures and tests as well. The RACGP Choose Wisely program highlights unnecessary medical treatments that doctors want banned. Being cognisant of this list may save you some time and money http://www.healthandlife.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/The-unnecessary-medical-treatments-doctors-want-banned.pdf.

Unnecessary testsPatient education is another good way of helping people navigate a complex healthcare system, and this campaign above appears to be a good start. However, there are reports that the public is getting angry at increasing health expenditure as it is becoming the second biggest household spend after the family mortgage. For many, health care is an opaque product that lacks transparency, and this is why people are starting to vote with their feet and hip pockets.

In particular, a recent article stated that over 500,000 furious Australians are considering dropping their private health insurance. The article names some providers that give the most value for money and some health insurers that provider the worst value for money.

The variability in these payouts can be easily resolved by a more open and transparent system of governance of the whole health care system, as mentioned previously on our site see Doctors set up to fail! .Furthermore, private health insurers, with the assistance of the medical profession could reduce the pricing of replacement joints and implants. In the longer term, we do anticipate some consolidation in the number of private health insurers.

angryAfter all, doing nothing will kill the goose that lays the golden egg for some patients. It will also reduce the freedom for patients to choose their doctor and hospital. If media reports that over  500,000 Australians are about to drop their private health insurance, something has got to give.

For some, it may be too late.

 

Managed care TrumpWe thought Trump was funny, but may have a point about Government!

Of concern is the Government mooting GPs to be paid by private health insurers: Bureaucrats push for private insurance to cover GP visits. This none-too-subtle move towards managed care would see GPs in conflict with insurance companies, where they would not be able to advocate for a patient, as they would be subject to the financial pressures of insurance companies, who would legally have to put profits before patients. There was a recent 4 corners report on this very issue see Commonwealth Bank health insurance scandal see  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-07/comminsure-scandal-whos-who-four-corners/7226576.  Many will also be aware of such a scenario currently in practice in the US. We believe that this idea is an irreversible moral hazard.

It is interesting to note how specialists charge poorer people: What do specialists charge their poorest patients? Maybe a similar system of patient profiling can be used by GPs, if it is not already in place. Do we really need more red tape? Can self regulation work? Does more competition help or hinder access to more affordable healthcare?

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