How 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 https://www.healthandlife.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/The-unnecessary-medical-treatments-doctors-want-banned.pdf.
Patient 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.
After 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.
We 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?
Chartered Accountant, Chartered Tax Adviser, Registered Tax Agent, Former AGPAL Surveyor 10 years of service
David Dahm is CEO and founder of the national medical and healthcare chartered accounting firm Health and Life and global Founder and CEO of the not for profit project the International Healthcare Standards and Ethics Board (www.ihseb.org)
After a serious work related car accident in 1989, and nine operations later I continue to be a patient and provider advocate. I enter my third decade as a national Chartered Accountant for Medical and Healthcare practices in Australia. I am a former 10-year Australian General Practice Accreditation surveyor. I come from a medico family. I have served on the AAPM national Board and was the inaugural national Chair of the Certified Practice Manager CPM post nominal. I continue to provide accounting tax and practice management advice to many practices all over Australia.
You know who you are and I thank you for this real honour and privilege to serve you and your community through you. Note, I am not a lawyer please seek appropriate legal and accounting advice. This information is for general information and discussion only.