The health fund provider says the new tool is accessible via its website, with customers able to see out-of-pocket information for more than 14,000 specialists.
Medibank data for 14,000 specialists listed on Find a Provider showed that for hospital admissions – 83% of claims did not have an out-of-pocket for Medibank customers, 13% of claims had an out-of-pocket of less than $500, and 4% had an out-of-pocket of more than $500.
Medibank says, however, this data does not include out-of-pocket costs for out-of-hospital care, including in their rooms, or those fees charged by other doctors involved in the hospital admission.
Dr Swan says the new portal now enables Medibank’s customers to have a conversation with their GP about what their specialist may charge.
“We’re making more information available to customers and their GPs to help them have better conversations about out-of-pocket costs before they select a surgeon,” she said.
“We know having surgery can be a difficult time for our customers and their families. We want to make sure when they’re home recovering that they don’t receive an unexpected bill.
“We want the best experience for our customers and to help them make informed choices – that’s why we’ve been working to provide customers with more information.”
Dr Swan recommends that anyone visiting their GP or specialist should plan ahead with a list of questions before a consultation.
“You’re not second-guessing your doctor or questioning their expertise. It’s about making well-informed decisions about your own health,” she says.
“Just because a particular specialist’s name is on the GP’s referral letter, this doesn’t mean you can’t take the referral to a different doctor. You may find different specialists charge very different fees for the same treatment or procedure. Paying more doesn’t mean you’ll get better quality of care.”