How much are Australia’s disbursements?

More than a third of Australian patients face astronomical bills when it comes to paying for their treatment, leading many to postpone appointments and question the value of private health insurance .

Results of a study by KPMG and Commonwealth Bank have prompted the private healthcare sector to urge members to check their cover before treatment, while KPMG analysts say more investment is needed in all-in-one tools for patients to understand costs.

Australia’s healthcare system could benefit from more consistent booking and billing tools, research from KPMG and the ABC suggests. Credit:iStock

The study of more than 1,100 healthcare consumers finds that 42% were impacted by higher-than-expected treatment costs, either because of the gap between their healthcare coverage and the provider’s bill, or because their requests were purely and simply rejected.

KPMG financial services partner Hessel Verbeek said that despite the high quality of care across the country, more investment was needed in digital health services to try to bring together booking, billing and payment information. private health insurance and reimbursement on a single platform.

“Many people do not know exactly how much of the treatment will be covered by the insurer. It’s not really about [value] of a claim, but more the information that people have,” he said.

The study found that 52% of respondents said they did not think private health coverage offered good value for money, given that out-of-pocket expenses were always necessary for treatment.

The time and effort required to process both Medicare reimbursements and private health claims also increases system costs. A third of patients said they forgot to bring their card to appointments, which slows down the claims process.

Meanwhile, a quarter of those surveyed admitted that they often forget about appointments completely, making it necessary to reschedule them.

Pressures are being felt across the healthcare system as flu season overlaps with consistently high levels of coronavirus cases. Private health insurers have reported a rush of patients to enroll to avoid long wait times for elective surgeries over the past year, but insurers note that cost-of-living pressures mean that they have to work hard to stay relevant.

Comments are closed.