Private health insurance will continue its slow death spiral unless unnecessary private hospital costs and exorbitant specialist bills are reined in, a Grattan Institute report has found. The report, written by health economists Stephen Duckett and Kristina Nemet, said a small minority of greedy specialist doctors billed their patients at more than twice the official Medicare benefit schedule fee. Patients were not being told about the fees in advance. “Only about 7% of all in-hospital medical services are billed at this rate, yet these bills account for almost 90% of all out-of-pocket medical costs for private hospital patients,” the report said. “If these high-charging specialists only billed patients 50% more than the official Medicare benefits schedule fee then patients would save $350m each year.” Another grim week leaves private health insurance on life support Read more Patients had little power to negotiate on fees, and were often most vulnerable […]