Specialists Accused Of Charging Different Rates Based On What A Patient Looks Like

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A less-well-dressed person would be charged less, Dr Armitage said. The CEO of a leading insurer volunteered a similar view but declined to be named. Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said charges were meant to be based on actual costs, not whether someone looked wealthy or turned up “in stubbies and thongs”. Dr Hambleton called on the insurance industry to provide evidence so that the claims could be acted upon. “It should be stamped out,” he said. PHA’s Dr Armitage said that doctors were charging some private health insurance policy holders extra “despite our very best efforts, which include paying (treatment) providers more”. These http://mariahbjernig8.bravejournal.com/entry/77099 are payments on top of the Medicare Benefits Schedule fee, on the basis that policy holders will not have an out-of-pocket cost for the treatment. For example, industry no.2 Bupa’s “Medical Gap Scheme Benefit” pays a doctor nearly $2000 towards the delivery of a baby – 184 per cent more than the MBS fee of just under $700. However, industry players say that in some instances, specialists who sign up to these “no gap” schemes still decide to charge an additional amount. In such cases, the patient doesn’t just pay the amount over and above the gap scheme benefit – they pay everything above the MBS fee. News Limited has obtained a breakdown of one insurer’s gap scheme benefits, which reveals that while it pays on average 50 per cent more than the MBS for orthopaedics, nearly 40 per cent of patients still end up with out-of-pocket costs. Ear, nose and throat specialists are offered an extra 47 per cent, but more than half the time people still incur a gap payment.
http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/specialists-accused-of-charging-different-rates-based-on-what-a-patient-looks-like/story-fneuz9ev-1226609529552

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