Really? We’re thinking it should be the other way around – Surgeons rating the Health Insurance Companies. The Health Insurance companies are getting together to create a website where they will have patients review and give feedback on doctors, surgeons and specialists. They are saying that consumers don’t have as much information as they should to make informed decisions! They are also saying patients are “shocked and disgruntled” by their huge out of pocket expenses and the gaps between what they pay and what the insurance companies are reimbursing.
Can Insurance Companies Be Trusted?
We are extremely concerned with quite a few aspects of this. Firstly, many of the largest health insurance companies are for-profit and notorious for being difficult and extremely selective when it comes to the medical expenses they do and don’t cover for their members. They often provide misleading information suggesting that they do cover a particular procedure or medical condition when in fact when you read the fine print there are several constraints or restrictions as to why it’s not covered. They are often accused of providing misleading information and leave battling Aussies in the lurch when it comes to being there is our times of need. We wonder if this is part of a huge campaign to put the blame for huge gaps on to the surgeons instead of the insurance companies taking responsibility for covering their members for what they think they are covered for.
Consumers pay huge amounts in insurance thinking they are covered for various things, whether it be home and contents insurance, or medical procedures when they arise. All too often, consumers are hugely let down by their insurance company, indeed especially when we see their massive profits and consider their executives’ salaries and bonuses.
We want to ask… “Who are Insurance Companies to decide which surgeons, doctors and practitioners are better than the others?”. They are certainly no expert, and whilst we here at the Hub continually strive for better informing consumers when it comes to Australian practitioners, surgeons and procedures, we seriously question that that information should come from the Insurance Companies who have a vested interest in who and where their members choose to have perform their procedure.
Doing Your Homework
Australian surgeons and practitioners do charge varying amounts for similar procedures, however there are various factors to consider as to why they do so. You might find that an extremely highly trained, experienced and sought after surgeon will charge more than a surgeon with less experience or recognition. However, we have a huge selection of extremely well trained, experienced and quality surgeons and practitioners in Australia; not all of them super expensive; and like any other industry, you need to do your homework to see which one suits you. There are several places you can go to research Australian surgeons – Plastic Surgery Hub being one of them! And with Social Media being so readily available to most people nowadays, a simple search on the internet will often provide information about one doctor/surgeon or another.
In the Sydney Morning Herald’s article on Friday, 29th July, it was suggested that patients are getting “shock bills” from their surgeon or specialist. We remind consumers to be clear on costs from any procedure/treatment from their very first consultation with their surgeon/practitioner and most surgeons and practitioners are fairly up front and forthcoming on costs involved for their patients. If they’re not… they are likely to be one of the dodgy ones. Again… do your homework!
Online Booking Through Insurance Companies Dodgy?
As for this new website allowing consumers to book online after they have considered the “information” provided to them by the insurance companies… are they saying to do this by putting our complete trust in the insurance company without independent shopping around and consulting with at least one or two practitioners before making a decision? We find this highly hypocritical. So the insurance companies are saying to be informed… but only by the information they provide? And that it’s ok to book a practitioner or surgeon for what is often a serious operation or treatment that could have serious outcomes for the patients’ health, online, without even a consultation?
Again, we are very concerned by this and continue to warn all consumers to do your own research, get informed and do what is right for you. Not only should you research your surgeon or practitioner before having any treatment or surgery, but research and read the fine print on any insurance company you are considering or are with before you undergo any treatment or surgery. Different insurance companies do cover different things, and some ARE better than others.
So, Which Health Fund is Best?
It’s next to impossible to suggest which health fund in Australia is better than the next for everyone, as each individual’s circumstances are different and different health funds will suit different individual’s needs. BUT, if you are having surgery in the future make sure you read any fine print and clarify very specifically which health fund covers exactly what. The only independent website that compares health funds (and does not receive commission for listing the different funds) is the government’s website: http://privatehealth.gov.au.
You can go the site and see a list of the funds under the menu “Health Funds” tab. Go into the ones you are thinking about and look under “performance” to see how much they pay out in benefits against the premiums they are charging (as a percentage). In other words for every $100 you as the policyholder pays, they pay out between $80-95 in benefits. So, the higher the ratio, the more they pay out.
Example: Search for NIB (a company listed on the stock exchange to make profits for shareholders). You’ll see that is pays out 86.7% of the premiums that people pay in benefits vs the industry average of 87.1% (ie, they give back less than the majority of funds).
Then search for a comparison – such as Teachers Health Fund, which is non-profit and run to benefit members, and you see that is pays out 90.2% of premiums in benefits, well above that 87.1% industry average (ie, they give back more than the majority of funds).
How Plastic Surgery Hub can help
We research all our surgeons on Plastic Surgery Hub and encourage reviews and Real Stories from any previous patients. We also have several closed Facebook Groups and forums where patients discuss and review practitioners and surgeons based on their own experience. If you’d like to know more about these groups email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don’t already, follow Plastic Surgery on Facebook to keep better informed.