Holes appear in no-gap health

The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman has received 280 complaints about doctors charging patients surgery “booking fees” which are not eligible for Medicare or health fund rebates. The fees range between $500 and $2,400 and generally have to be paid up-front by patients on their first visits to specialists. Ombudsman John Powlay says the fees may be undermining no-gap health insurance schemes. Doctors say they are charging the fees to cover medical liability premiums and that the amounts health funds pay under no-gap schemes do not cover their costs. The Ombudsman said the booking fees are causing great confusion amongst consumers who believe they will have no out-of-pocket expenses if they take out no-gap health cover.