Residents across the New England are benefiting from new measures designed to reduce the effects of ‘bill shock’ from unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the Federal Government has established a new Medical Costs Transparency website which – for the first time – is showing Australian patients typical out-of-pocket costs for common treatments and procedures in the private system.
Australian patients can search and compare predicted out-of-pocket costs for specific in-hospital treatments delivered in the private setting.
“Like any consumer product or service, people deserve to know how much it’s going cost them prior to payment and medical expenses are no exception,” Mr Joyce said.
“Most practitioners do the right thing by charging fair, reasonable fees and disclose expected payment to patients before going ahead. This will help to further inform people’s choices and provide certainty to patients in the private system.”
Australia has a world class health system, which is based on a mix of public and private healthcare, supported by the world’s best healthcare professionals.
However, the Ministerial Advisory Committee report – released in March this year – found a minority of medical specialists charge very large fees, which can result in large or unexpected out-of-pocket costs.
This can cause distress and financial hardship for families.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said the Medical Costs Transparency website was a recommendation of the Advisory Committee, chaired by the Chief Medical Officer for the Government, Professor Brendan Murphy.
“Based on the advice of the Committee, the Morrison Government made a commitment to address this issue for patients, and we have,” Minister Hunt said.
“We have worked with medical specialists, consumers, private health insurers and hospitals to develop the Medical Costs Finder.
“The website was also informed by consumer research and testing, to deliver the results patients and their families want and need.”
The Medical Costs Transparency website is based on data held by the Government regarding fees charged by doctors, the amounts patients have paid after Medicare, and any applicable health insurance payments.
To access the Medical Costs Transparency Website, visit: www.health.gov.au/medical-costs-finder