This New Website Compares Surgery And Medical Fees Around The Country
A new website that compares average out-of-pocket charges for elective surgeries of specialist doctors across the country came about after a cyclist had an accident.
When Peter Schrieber fell off his bike, he had more to worry about than just his serious injuries -- there was also damage to his wallet.
“We had very good health insurance cover and had made the assumption that the out-of-pockets wouldn't be that large,” he told 10 News First.
But the father of two was left $4000 out of pocket for his treatment at a private hospital.
His experience outraged his wife's parents, both retired doctors, and prompted them to set up a free comparison website.
“You need to know what you’re likely to have to spend before you go and chose the specialist,” site designer Dr Katherine McGrath said.
'My Dr Bill' is lists 90 different procedures along with the average cost for out-of-pocket charges nationwide.
For example, the doctors' analysis shows the costs for prostate cancer surgery can range from $1,816 in South Australia to $6,508 in NSW.
"This is a powerful tool if consumers choose to use it that will actually help to drive costs down," McGrath said.
In Tasmania, the average out-of-pocket cost for a hip replacement is $496, compared with $1609 in Victoria.
The website is meant to help patients who fear being ripped off.
CEO of the Health Issues Centre, Danny Veraz, claimed some specialists charge more "simply because they can".
“In many cases, it’s simply egregious charging over charging and there is no justification for it,” he said.
“They’re getting away with it because there is nothing to put a ceiling on charges.”
10 News First understands the federal government has already flagged plans to set up a similar website, but it relies on surgeons voluntarily providing their fees.
Featured image: Getty