'Greedy' doctors slammed
Experts say private hospitals must hold ‘greedy’ doctors to account to save private health care.
A new report by the Grattan Institute says private health insurance premiums could be cut by up to 10 per cent if private hospitals were made more efficient and stopped over-servicing.
It says a handful of ‘greedy’ doctors charge their patients more than twice the official Medicare Benefits Schedule fee.
Only about 7 per cent of all in-hospital medical services are billed at this rate, yet these bills account for almost 90 per cent of all out-of-pocket costs for private hospital patients – and patients are often not told of these costs in advance.
Some doctors also charge ‘booking fees’ on top of procedure and consultation fees. These covert fees are not recoverable from private health insurance or Medicare – the patient is left to foot the bill.
The higher fees have nothing to do with the skill of the surgeon or the adequacy of the Medicare Benefits Schedule. The small minority of specialists who charged more than twice the schedule fee are simply greedy, it appears.
The stats suggest that if these high-charging specialists had imposed fees at 50 per cent more than the schedule fee but no more, patients would have saved more than $350 million in 2018-19.