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    Choice - corner-stone of private health insurance

    AUSTRALIA's largest and truly national private health insurer, Medibank Private, believes that access to the doctor and hospital of their choice is fundamental to the rights of all private health consumers.

    It is for this very reason that Medibank Private is not considering going down the tendering path and has no plans for any significant reduction of its coverage of private hospital beds. Currently the fund has contract arrangements with more than 95 per cent of hospital and day-surgery beds under its Members' Choice network across Australia.

    Tendering would mean locking out specific hospitals.

    Instead, according to Medibank Private managing director, Mark Burrowes, the private health insurer has been actively involved with hospital groups and independent private hospital operators to develop greater value and convenience to members.

    "Initiatives include greater inclusion of no gap and known gap medical services, including diagnostic services such as radiology and pathology. More inclusion and coverage of drugs and other treatment options is also an integral part of these initiatives.

    "What this means to our members is more choice, greater convenience, less cost and the ability to better concentrate on the 'road to recovery', rather than focus on concerns associated with multiple bills and related costs."

    Mr Burrowes says that in recognition of the value and importance of choice, Medibank Private already has over 95 per cent of private hospital and day surgery facilities under Members' Choice agreements, providing an extensive range of choice and options to members.

    "In the few instances where agreements are not concluded with hospital providers, this is generally on the basis of assuring real value - in spending members contributions wisely.

    "This means that Medibank Private tries very hard to ensure real value in agreements. Medibank Private members still receive various levels of benefits in instances where they exercise their choice for treatment in non Members' Choice agreement facilities.

    "We have also been active in extending the Members' Choice concept in other areas such as dental and optometrical."

    Mr Burrowes says where the Gold Coast is concerned, Medibank has Members' Choice arrangements with all major hospitals and day surgeries including:

    • John Flynn Private Hospital,
    • Allamanda Private Hospital,
    • Pindara Private Hospital,
    • Pindara Day Procedure Centre,
    • Short Street Day Surgery,
    • Brockway House Day Surgery,
    • St Vincent’s Robina, and
    • The Wesley Gold Coast Day Surgery