Unhealthy confusion

Two thirds of Australians are potentially putting their health at risk by delaying seeking treatment due to cost, according to a new survey.

The national survey of 1,000 Australian men and women aged 18 to 64, conducted by Galaxy Research and commissioned by Tender Healthcare, found that 86 per cent of surveyed Australians felt confused about healthcare, with 90 per cent believing it is expensive.

According to the survey, 90 per cent of Australian respondents are concerned about the affordability of healthcare and a similar percentage believe there are benefits to be gained from having more control over their healthcare options.

Dentist and founder of Tender Healthcare Dr Myles Holt said: “With rising costs of services in a challenging economy, more and more people are unable to afford private health insurance and many often delay, or avoid seeking the treatment they need, simply because they can’t easily locate an affordable, quality provider in their area.”

Common areas of confusion were in the areas of:

  • Final out-of-pocket expenses patients have to pay after claiming with their health insurer and Medicare (58 per cent).
  • Why costs for the same medical service vary significantly (52 per cent).
  • The level of cover for a procedure under patient’s health insurance (45 per cent).

“Busy lifestyles, location and time restrictions mean patients can only physically approach healthcare providers close to their home or work” Dr Holt said.

“We know that it would be ideal to seek several different opinions, treatment options and fee estimates to find the right person, at the right price, but this process has traditionally been time consuming and costly when having to physically attend and pay for multiple consultations.”

The survey revealed that 79 per cent of respondents would be willing to travel outside their area to access medical services if it meant they received better quality and more affordable prices, while 51 per cent would be willing to travel interstate.

Receiving second opinions also proved important, with 90 per cent of respondents believing that second opinions are important in achieving good healthcare outcomes, and 65 per cent saying it is difficult to obtain second opinions.

Tender Healthcare is an online marketplace providing open communication between patients and providers. For more information, visit www.tenderhc.com.