Bupa has joined the list of organisations calling for greater transparency in medical fees following revelations on ABC's Four Corners earlier this week.
It has joined Private Healthcare Australia, Medibank Private and the Consumers Health Forum, in demanding greater transparency on out-of-pocket costs and action on non-clinically relevant fees.
The episode, Mind the Gap, highlighted the billing experiences of hundreds of patients who faced significant out-of-pocket costs through the private health system.
According to Bupa, the episode highlighted exactly why its members want transparency around medical fees.
"The majority of doctors are doing the right thing financially by their patients, but the program has revealed the huge impact of those that aren’t," it said in a statement.
According to managing director Dr Dwayne Crombie, “The only way things will change is if consumers put pressure on doctors. They can’t ignore that. People should refuse to patronise those who overcharge.”
Bupa said costs should be provided in writing before a procedure or medical appointment occurs.
"Any out of pocket costs, such as doctors' fees or hospital fees, must be explained in advance," it said. "This is a critical component of informed financial consent."
It continued, "If customers are forced to pay out of pocket gaps because a fee is high, it’s not unreasonable for people to question what benefit insurance provides them, without realising where the cost is coming from and why they are having to pay it."
“Never be afraid to get a second opinion,” said Dr Crombie, “people shouldn’t be emotionally pressured when they are sick and vulnerable.“