Received this in the mail on the 16th (post stamped with the 14th) with a demand to pay $500 by the 18th be charged $750 which amounts to an extra 50% in out of pocket costs. Has anyone come across this before?
It seems mightly unfair to expect someone to cough up the $500 in 2 days or slap them with an additional 50% in out of pocket costs. Especially when these specialists make up their own fees and don’t provide any warning as to how big they will be. The bill also has no item numbers on it, which I thought was rather odd.
Certainly the seven day account seems a bit of a rort given the postal date of the 14Jan, for an account dated 04Jan, or ten days prior. The discount date is actually 14days from the date of issue of the account. That’s for a seven day account!
It’s amazing Aust Post was so quick in delivery of the mail. The offer of a discount if paid by the nominated date may have failed regardless of the post had been a bit slower.
It may be useful to consider payment after the 18th other than as a 50% penalty. Technically the offer for early payment is approx a 33% discount.
My view only.
Surgeons etc should be required by law to provide full details and a quote from their anaesthetist at the time of quoting the procedure. AMA and professional colleges be buggered. In many ways the professional who provides the most critical service, aka “Dr Death” in some circles is the most important of the two.
I wonder if a request for payment was made at the time the services were provided or the patient only had the option to pay when the invoice was received. I have found more recently that there has been an option to settle the account immediately after medical services were rendered…or to have a a bill forwarded at a later date.
This question is asked as the patient may have had the opportunity to pay for the services between the service delivery date and the bill payment date, but chose to wait until the bill had been received requesting payment.
If this was the first time the patient had the opportunity to settle the services provided, then the terms of 7 days would definitely be considered unreasonable.
It is disgraceful. Most businesses/service providers have a minimum of 30 days payment periods. This does seem extraordinarily unreasonable payment time and one could think they they may not want patients to pay in time to get the discount (as the anaesthetist would benefit from the increased out of pocket payment).
Sure, Labour Epidural he commenced work at 01:20 and finished at 01:53 for a total of 33 minutes, that part is listed on the bill. Does seem expensive, no way to compare easily against the scheduled fees because there are no item numbers listed.
Although the bill has already been paid by my wife who freaked out to get it paid in-time, I do think I’ll be making a complaint about this on principle. I don’t want this to become common.
I think if an anesthetist is going to charge ~$2,600 p/h they should probably say that as they walk in the room.
2 days to pay a previously unknown bill is too short.
Missing details from the bill such as item numbers for any sort of comparison.
Have you registered on MyGov.so as to be able to check your Medicare records?
We did and I regularly check them to see if everything is above board.
I have at least one procedure each year which requires an anesthetist and I have posted the extracts of my Medicare details from the MyGov website since 2017 for your assistance.
of ServicessBenefit Paid
by GovernmentntCost To
2019 17610H Pre-anaesthesia brief consultation $206.65 $33.30 $173.35 Private Health
2019 20690H Initiation of management of Anaesthesia for percutaneous spinal procedures. $170.85 $75.40 $95.45 Private Health
2019 23033H Anaesthesia, 41 minutes to 45 minutes $102.50 $45.25 $57.25 Private Health Total:$480.00$153.95$326.05
of ServicesBenefit Paid
by GovernmentCost To
2018 17610H Pre-anaesthesia brief consultation $74.95 $32.75 $42.20 Private Health
2018 20690H Initiation of management of Anaesthesia for percutaneous spinal procedures. $169.35 $74.25 $95.10 Private Health
2018 23033H Anaesthesia, 41 minutes to 45 minutes $101.60 $44.55 $57.05 Private Health Total:$345.90$151.55$194.35
of ServicesBenefit Paid
by GovernmentCost To
2017 17610H Pre-anaesthesia brief consultation $74.30 $32.25 $42.05 Private Health
2017 20690H Initiation of management of Anaesthesia for percutaneous spinal procedures. $168.30 $74.25 $94.05 Private Health
2017 23032H Anaesthesia, 36 minutes to 40 minutes $101.00 $44.55 $56.45 Private Health Total:$343.60$151.05$192.55
Whilst the data posted as a dog’s breakfast, it should still provide a reasonable comparison between anesthetists’ charges, especially in regard to hourly rates, and at least in Qld, the anesthetists only supplies their expert skills whilst the hospital or day surgery supplies all the medical supplies.
Yes. But when I last visited a surgeon he stated that there is a pool of anaesthesiologists he uses, from multiple companies, with variable fees across the lot of them. Thus no quote is possible because he knows not which will be on duty for my procedure until the day or close to it. ‘Ring them all and ask if you need to know’ !
I will not comment on this being so wrong, but at least he told me the ‘problem’.
At the time I did receive an invoice from the anaesthesiologist with a ‘discount’, but it was for payment in the month. It seems the profession has found a way to penalise those who might be able to least afford it, as do most other professions and financial institutions.
FWIW my non-bulk billing GP office has one high price for payment on the day, and an even higher price schedule for payment anytime after the day. Recently the office stopped posting orders for routine tests and requires one to stop by to pick them up. Penny pinching at its finest. We attend the office only because our GP is brilliant and we have a good history with her; on balance she will spend extra time with us when necessary but not charge for a mid-level consult if it is only a few minutes over. Our bulk billing clinics are overweighted by new and foreign GPs; we use them for many things; some of them are really good, one missed a biggie but I survived, and the list sometimes seems like a revolving door as they come and go.
‘We’ seem to be emulating the US and rewarding libertarian economics at a record pace.
There was likely some pre- and post-procedure time, still probably doesn’t add to an hour or much more though. @fred123’s break down should have been provided as it shows detail.
Agree. Interestingly the following from the ANZCA (Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists) has all the answers anyone would ever want to know about receiving services from an anaesthetist!
It would appear billing and the cost of the services is not a “Frequently Asked Question”.
The ACCC really needs to consider if finding out whom on the day is good enough. With one recent exception, personal experience is Dr Death has first appeared half way through prep for a procedure, consent form in hand, and no fee schedule. Is it truely fair or reasonable for the consumer to be put in a position to accept and proceed or cancel and come back in 6-10weeks when the surgeon is next free? Only to repeat the same circus.
Shonky award or is this far worse an outright abuse of the consumer? Does Choice have room for one more campaign to force either capped fees, or freedom of choice of anaesthetist and to negotiate a fixed fee in advance of any planned procedure? Unplanned should be capped!
In my case the surgeon regularly worked with the ‘pool’ so it was not a worry. Your further points are right on.
A point, how would that go if your choice was someone who did not get along with the surgeon, or vice versa? or had a bad reputation the surgeon knew about but you did not, being price conscious?
A rare point I disagree with unless your cap is all but unlimited. An unplanned surgery would be an emergency. It could be 30 minutes or 3 hours or possibly 30 hours. It could be routine as the surgery went, or could be quite complicated with a very fragile patient.
My experience exactly, as one is already prepared waiting to be wheeled into the theatre when the anesthetist appears for a 60 second chat and advises that he will leave a prescription for some painkillers for me.
No mention of the fees and the consent form has already been signed when booking the procedure.
The anesthetist is only sighted again as the procedure is commenced prior to one losing consciousness.
The surgeons I deal with all use Cairns Anaesthetic Group to provide the anesthetist and I have had around 5 or so different members over the past decade.
All but one of them do not incur any out of pocket expenses for me with Medicare and Bupa covering the total, as do the surgeons I mainly use.
The sooner we move to an open information system of medical professionals charges and success/failure rates the better. I heard recently on a radio article it is something like 5% of specialists accounting for 90% of the out of pocket expenses for private patients.
Why we went public for all our babies after the first Private system one. All the public deliveries were excellent, all the best care and often undertaken by the same ones who also provided Private services. Just meant often not a private room for the 24 hours they usually ask you to exit by. A couple of times our children needed extra care and all of it was free.
While I can see why some people want private care for many things, child birth is perhaps one where the public system rules.
An article regarding private health insurance in Australia, which will feature on the 7:30 program on ABC TV tonight, and has these snippets.
“On the other side, Melbourne mum Ms Dimeas, 51, says she would never be without her two policies, having recently paid no gap for two knee reconstructions and with a hip replacement on the cards in coming months.”
“Meanwhile, Ms Dimeas said she sees more than enough value in her two health policies, one with Medibank and one with the Commonwealth Bank. She paid nothing for her two $15,000 knee replacements.”
She obviously had an honest anesthetist each time.
Isn’t it the case here, that the fee is $750, but if payment is made by the due date, a lesser amount will be accepted, namely $500. The anaesthetist would argue, that no penalty is charged, rather a discount offered if payment is made by the due date. This account seems to be in the same style as Energy Australia accounts, where a lesser amount is accepted in full payment if made by the due date, and the higher amount is demanded if payment is late.
Whilst the extra $250 for payment after the due date is not a penalty, the fact that so little time is allowed for the account to be settled for a lower amount, 4 days from the date of the account, it may even be conceivable (with Australia Post these days taking up to 7 days to deliver ordinary mail) that the discount offered is a complete sham. Whether there is any redress, perhaps that is a matter for the ACA.
Fred123, I had a chuckle at your post. I stuffed it up, I meant the Australian Consumers Association (is there such an animal. or am I misled). I’m not a fan of the media, and sorry to hear that the ACCC is so bad.