Media releases

July 4, 2000

AMA response to gapcover perplexing

Medibank Private has expressed surprised at the AMA's sudden and acrimonious response to one of the issues under discussion which forms part of the fund's eight- month old GapCover scheme. The issue has raised no concern from the medical profession to date.

Medibank Private company secretary, Di Jay, says nothing has changed since the implementation of Gapcover in November. "Why this is suddenly an issue for the AMA is most perplexing!

" Australia's largest and only nationally-based private health insurer - Medibank Private - launched its highly successful GapCover scheme in November last year.

Implemented to eliminate or reduce medical gap payments for privately insured patients, Medibank Private's "GapCover" is a billing system which many medical practitioners throughout Australia are already using.

Ms Jay says: "Doctors are voting with their feet. At present almost 30 per cent of all eligible services are being claimed under Medibank Private's Gapcover scheme. Clearly doctors and their patients see the benefits.

"We're expecting this figure to double to reach almost 60 per cent by the end of the calendar year."

Information about participating Gapcover doctors has been freely available to members on request, but only if participating doctors have agreed they are happy for Medibank Private members to have this information, says Ms Jay. "It is up to the doctor!"

"What we're doing is bridging this gap for patients and ensuring they have price certainty before they go into hospital. We want our members to be able to make informed choices about the services they access and the cost of those services.

"We see the GapCover scheme as a 'win-win' for patients and for doctors. Patients know the cost of the service ahead of time and doctors have a simple mechanism for making claims.

"However, doctors are free to charge whatever they choose and it is entirely up to them if they want to be included on our lists. There is absolutely no requirement for them to do so!"

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