Specialists can charge patients what they want, and some doctors charge exorbitant amounts. A handful of services account for almost 90% of all medical gaps.
Seeking and making sense of specialist fees is an unfair burden to place on vulnerable patients. A website might be helpful for some – but health professionals need to be held to higher account.
Australia is the only country in the OECD that allows specialists complete freedom to set their own fees. This puts patients at risk – but the government can help protect them.
Poorer children in Australia are less likely to receive their share of Medicare funding, particularly in the first years of life.
To work out how to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for specialist care, we first need to identify why they are so high.
High specialist fees in this country, and what they mean for Australians' access to health care, have been of concern for some time.
Why is it so difficult to find out exactly how much it's going to cost to have that suspicious mole removed or to be admitted to hospital for that colonoscopy or hip replacement?