by CHA’s Health Policy Manager Alex Lynch
Unexpected out-of-pocket costs are cited as one of the most common reasons for people choosing not to take out, or failing to renew, their private health insurance cover. In response to the public concern around ‘bill shock’, the Australian Government’s Department of Health is delivering the Medical Costs Finder website.
Originally launched in December 2019, the Medical Costs Finder is an online tool designed to reduce ‘bill shock’ for consumers from unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses and educate them on the contributions that Medicare and private health insurers can make on their behalf. The website provides typical out-of-pocket costs for over 1,300 common in-hospital and out-of-hospital services. Currently, these costs are based on financial year aggregated information and shown by geographic location rather than by individual specialists.
Over the last 12 months, the Department of Health has been working to enhance the Medical Costs Finder website to enable individual medical specialists to publish their estimate fees and private health insurer arrangements for a small, select number of the specialists’ high-volume services. This information will be accessible for consumers and GPs.
Now the Department has developed a demonstration of the website’s functionality, as well as a demonstration of the Specialist’s portal doctors will be able to utilise to update their fee schedules.
• MCF Website demonstration: For those interested, and for sharing within your networks, please find a video demonstration of the enhancements to the Medical Costs Finder website:
• MCF Portal demonstration: You can also view a demonstration of the MCF portal here:
It’s important to remember the Medical Costs Finder is not a quoting tool nor is it to be used for medical diagnoses. The information on specialist fees, their insurer gap arrangements, Medicare contributions and resulting out-of-pocket costs will provide consumers with indicative information and a better understanding of what contributes to out of-pocket costs earlier in their healthcare journey and help them plan and prepare financially.
A pilot is expected to commence in March 2022, allowing specialists to participate in entering and having their information displayed on the Medical Costs Finder website in a private beta format. The website is expected to go-live for the public in the second quarter of 2022.
If you would like to provide feedback on the Website or Specialist Portal demonstrations or would like to register your early interest in participating, simply email your name noting your interest to OOPTransparency@health.gov.au.