News & Trends - Medical Technology

New Aussie resource to enhance patient understanding of out-of-pocket medical costs

Health Industry Hub | January 8, 2020 |
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The Morrison Government has taken action to reduce the effects of ‘bill shock’ from unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses.

A new Medical Costs Transparency website will – for the first time – show Australian patients typical out-of-pocket costs for common treatments and procedures in the private system.

Australian patients will be able to search and compare predicted out-of-pocket costs for specific in-hospital treatments delivered in the private setting.

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.”

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Australia has a world class health system, which is based on a mix of public and private healthcare, supported by 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.

Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy said the website was an “important step” in improving the transparency of medical costs.

“We know the vast majority of doctors charge reasonable and proportionate fees and disclose the costs of treatment and charges to their patients. However, some doctors do charge high fees,” Professor Murphy said.

“This website is an important step in improving understanding and transparency of medical costs.”

In 2020, the information will expand so people will be able to:

  • Find costs for out of hospital services.
  • See the fees for particular medical specialists.

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.

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