Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Health Care Scare

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Samantha Gavel - Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) - Helping consumers to navigate change

Many people are surprised at how much extra they have to pay when they use their private health insurance in hospital. By contrast, there are few, if any, additional costs in the public system. And many people don’t really know what they’re getting when they purchase private health insurance.

Private Helath Insurance and the Illusion of Choice February 7, 2013 2.46pm

That article was written  3 years ago and not only has it not changed, it has become very worrying and disturbing. Private health insurance was never like that. It originally covered the gap or nearly covered the gap. That's why we took it out . Those of us who could afford it took out private health insurance and knew we would be able to use the private health sector and allow the public system to help those who had limited or no income. Some took it out as a way to feel superior but most of us didn't. I have paid private health cover for over 40 years and this is the first time I have become increasingly concerned. It doesn't cover costs at all. There are sizeable out of pocket expenses and treatment for something serious in the private sector would become prohibitive and downright scary. You just don't know what you are in for. I have had 3 hospital stays in my life in the private sector. They were covered. I doubt they would be now. Getting new glasses costs me a fair bit and the other week I had a filling repaired and I got $95 of the $200  fee back and I belong to what is considered one of the best funds. As someone who is moving into the pension sector which I'll partly fund myself I am finding this very difficult. I am not the only one. It really has been the talk of the town. We are all wondering if we can afford to be in private hospital cover and whether it will be worth it because we won't have the means to pay gaps any more. So much for doing the right thing. Then you add that to the medical rearrangements in Adelaide and it's horrible and scary and we don't understand what is going on at all. GP Clinics are supermarket clinics. You cannot always get in to see your own doctor so you choose a GP clinic. So far my daughter has had a dislocated finger left untreated and told to take panadol and use an ice pack. She had tonsillitis misdiagnosed, a friend had her flu misdiagnosed and ended up in hospital. When my daughter got chickenpox in her 30s she luckily could get in to see her own doctor. There are some great doctors in the GP clinics who really understand health care. There does not appear to be enough of them and the approach and process need to be looked at because we are not getting health care. Nor do we know what to do about hospitals and emergency situations. Do we all go to Flinders and RAH? That will overload those two hospitals and it have serious consequences for outer suburbs people. Time=life in a severe medical scenario and being transported in an ambulance for 30 or 40 minutes or more is not helpful.  So what do we want? Private Health care which covers us and does not give us impossible financial situations to deal with. Access to quality medical care no matter where it is. By all means layer the system and work out the filters for serious, not so serious, really serious and tell us how to do it. Go here if you have a cold. Go here if you broke your foot. Our system needs an overhaul, yes, and we need information . We also need to be treated as people and not bank accounts.

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