Doped by doctors
A RECENT ARTICLE in the media discussing anaesthetists’ decision to charge private rates for their services and to ignore the medical aid rates, highlights the desperate need to review the entire question of medical healthcare funding.
It’s important that patients realise that the money medical aids pay on their behalf, comes from the financial benefits they’ve negotiated with medical aids in terms of their agreed-on monthly contributions. From a practical and legal point of view, this is the patient’s money to be spent as the patient deems necessary. The medical aids are there to administer these funds according to a programme of payment as stipulated and regulated by Government.
There’s increasing evidence that this form of medical aid control of healthcare funding is failing. The issue with anaesthetists bears testimony to this. This failure will be further substantiated when the Risk Equalisation Fund is forced on medical aids by Government.
What’s desperately needed is for medical aids to have their current format changed so that they become medical service advisers that’ll be in a better position to advise patients on their financial benefits, rather than targeting medical practitioners to “toe the line” to adhere to a Government stipulated cost for medical services. (Letter shortened)