Out-of-pocket cost report being finalised

Latest News

The report on out-of-pocket costs is in the process of being finalised according to chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy.

Responding to questions at Budget Supplementary Estimates, Professor Murphy said the finalised report will be delivered to health minister Greg Hunt who "is keen to progress the issue."

Mr Hunt appointed Professor Murphy to chair the committee tasked with investigating out-of-pocket costs and options to ensure that consumers are better informed of fees before agreeing to treatment.

The committee includes a wide cross-section of stakeholders.

At Senate Estimates in May, Professor Murphy responded to issues raised in an ABC Four Corners episode, Mind the Gap, which focused on out-of-pocket costs related to specialist medical fees. He said the Department of Health was working with stakeholders to "stamp out" booking and administration fees that could add thousands to consumer out-of-pocket costs.

The episode highlighted examples of specialists using these fees to circumvent no-gap and known-gap arrangements. "This practice will be stamped out...because it is unacceptable," said Professor Murphy.

In response to questions last week, the chief medical officer said the issue is particularly stark for private cancer patients, who face "not large" costs for individual treatments but the "cumulative cost of sequential treatments".

He praised the leadership of the medical profession who he said were "right behind doing something about this."