This page outlines our explanation for patient’s payment options depending on their circumstances. The page covers the following explanations and payment options:
- Explanation of Fees
- Private Patients
- Public vs Private
- Dept of Vet Affairs
- Workers Compensation
- Payment Policy
- No Private Health Insurance
The initial consultation will incur a fee.
A quotation of this fee will be given at the time of your booking. This fee is payable at time of appointment and a Medicare claim can be lodged on your behalf.
As we are a busy practice, if a consultation appointment is cancelled without notice, you may be asked to pay the full amount at the time if rebooking.
An Explanation of Fees
The standard fees charged by our rooms are in line with the Australian Medical Association recommended fee schedule. This means that in most instances there will be a ‘gap’ between our surgical fee and what is covered by Medicare and your health insurance fund.
If there is any problem with this it is important that you ask about this gap. Our staff are fully informed with charges and rebates and will be able to help you navigate through what can be a complex process. These fee explanations can cover:
- Consulting Fee
- Surgical Fee
- Surgical Estimates
If you require more information, please do not hesitate to call the practice during office hours.
Other Possible Disbursements
There may be other charges involved in your care depending on which course of action you choose. You need to also check with your health fund to see what is covered for additional areas of service. Potential areas of cover are:
- Surgical Assistants
- Tests (Radiology, Pathology)
- Postoperative Care – Allied Health/Physiotherapy/Hand Therapy
We offer informed financial consent to all our patients prior to surgery. This is a pre-treatment estimate of your surgical costs. This estimate enables you to discuss with your health insurance company what you are covered for and if benefits are applicable.
If you have private health insurance that covers the types of procedures we perform, then your health fund excess is payable on the day of the procedure to the hospital.
If you choose to be treated as a private patient, you will be treated at hospitals that our doctor is affiliated with or is a visiting medical specialist.
After discharge, your care will be carried out in my private rooms or will be referred to your local general practitioner.
Types of Private Patients
This practice caters for a range of Private patients, these include:
- Private Health Insured
- Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA)
- Self Insured (Uninsured)
Private Health Insurance - Known Gap Policy
Private Health Insurance allows you and your family to access the right health services at the right time. You have control of your healthcare and can choose the provider, facility and timing of your treatment. With the security and protection of private health insurance, you have access to an extensive range of private hospitals and can rest assured that your health is in good hands.
Depending on your level of private health cover, some health funds also require you to pay an excess. For Procedural Items typically there is a Known Gap payment required.
We are not responsible for these costs but our staff will do their utmost to guide you to better understanding.
Our practice accepts most private health insurance programs. Our staff can also help with your claim for benefits, but we remind you that your specific policy is an agreement between you and your insurance company.
Please keep in mind that you are responsible for your total obligation should your insurance benefits result in less coverage than anticipated.
Your policy may base its allowances on a fixed fee schedule, which may or may not coincide with the AMA fee schedule.
You should be aware that different insurance companies vary greatly in the types of coverage available. Also, some companies take care of claims promptly while others delay payment for several months.
Things to Ask Your Health Fund Include
When talking with your Health insurance company you should be clear on the following matters:
- What is my annual monetary benefit limit for:
- General Surgical treatment and Major Surgical treatment?
- What service limits apply to my cover?
- When does my annual benefit limit expire?
- Do I have a waiting period? And when does it end?
- What kind of Surgical treatment is NOT covered?
Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA)
The Australian Government’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) provides support to current and former serving members and their families through a range of benefits (including ongoing or one-off payments). for further understanding on how you can apply these benefits to our service and the scope of cover please refer to: http://www.dva.gov.au/benefits-and-payments
Workcover [or your local cover organisation]
Arrangements between our practice and the state government insurance regulator cover patients involved in workplace and motor vehicle accidents.
These state-specific arrangements are designed to ensure that workers have priority access to orthopaedic surgeons.
Self Insured (Uninsured)
If you are self-funded (no private health insurance), the full hospital fee is payable on admission.
Patients may be able to choose private admission even if they do not have private health insurance. Self-funded patients will be liable to pay the following:
- The gap between the Medicare benefit and any specialist’s charge
- The gap for diagnostic services (medical imaging and laboratory), however some of these services may be bulk billed to Medicare.
- Hospital accommodation fees (bed charge)
- Surgically implanted prostheses
Essentially this means you must meet all costs of the admission yourself except those covered by Medicare.
For further information about being a private patient, contact our rooms
Private vs Public Fees
You may choose to be a public or a private patient. This page provides patients with the different options are for surgery in the private or public hospital system.
Public Hospital Patients:
Australian residents who decide to be a public patient are entitled to free treatment under Medicare. Your treatment will be carried out by an appropriate specialist which will be arranged prior to your admission. After discharge, your care will either be continued in an outpatient clinic or you will be referred to your local general practitioner.
In a public hospital, the surgery is usually performed by a registrar (a doctor training in orthopaedic surgery) but the registrar is supervised by a senior surgeon who is responsible for your care.
There are no fees for surgery in the public hospital, however, there is a waiting list. Your position on the waiting list will be based on the severity of your condition. You follow up visits after surgery will be arranged through the hospital.
Private Hospital Treatment:
In the private system, Dr Wilkinson will perform your surgery personally and will also look after you if you are advised to be an in-patient.
All follow up appointments will be in our office.
Overview of Payment Options
Our reception staff will be happy to advise you of the consultation fee upon booking an appointment over the telephone. Fees for consultation along with other necessary forms will also be emailed to you for your convenience upon booking an appointment.
- Surgical fees are billed directly to the Health Insurance Providers.
- Where an out-of-pocket co-payment is required (which can vary depending on the type and complexity of surgery or procedure). Patients will be advised, in writing, after the consultation, the amount of gap payment.
- Fees for uninsured patients are advised upon request.
Payment on the day of consultation is much appreciated.
How to Pay?
For your convenience we accept a number of payment methods in the rooms, by post and online:
- Cheque and Cash
- Credit Card: VISA, Mastercard)
- Electronic other - (Credit Card, EFTPOS)
Early Release of Superannuation
Patients may apply to Centrelink for an early release of superannuation funds to cover part or all of the costs involved. More details can be found on the Centrelink website.
If you chose to apply for this, three documents need to be lodged:
- Completed application form - click here to download
- A letter of support from your General Practitioner
- A letter of support from our clinic (we will provide this after your initial consultation)
Please note that processing time by Centrelink generally takes around 3 weeks, and allow a further 4-6 weeks for your superannuation fund to release the funds to your personal bank account.
No Private Health Insurance
If you are not in a Private Health Fund or DVA and you need surgery, you have two alternatives:
- Go on a Waiting List at the Public Hospital, or
- Pay for the operation yourself ("Self Insure")
Dr Wilkinson can admit patients to The Townsville Hospital where he hasregular operating lists.
The care in the public hospital is free of charge to you.
However, the Waiting List for operations in the Public system is considerable, currently upwards of twelve months.
An increasing number of people are choosing to "Self Insure" or pay for their own surgery, so they don't have to wait. This is often a worthwhile investment as it means you can have your operation done straight away or whenever it suits you. This can allow you to get back to your work and sport as soon as possible.
All the private hospital fees associated with your surgery are an out-of-pocket expense, but we will assist you in obtaining an estimate of costs from the private hospital before you go ahead with your surgical procedure.
Call the practice and they will be happy to provide you with an accurate cost. A proportion of Dr Wilkinson’s fees and the anaesthetic fees attract a small rebate from Medicare.
If you require more information, please do not hesitate to call us on during office hours.