In case you missed the past week’s media coverage, insurance giant Medibank Private is having a contractual smackdown with Ramsay Health Care, Australia’s largest private hospital owner.
Both parties are negotiating whether (and at what fee) Medibank will continue to cover clients receiving medical and mental health treatment at Ramsay facilities around the country.
It really seems like a lose-lose situation.
If the contract isn’t renewed, Ramsay may lose hundreds of patients whose treatment costs are no longer covered and are therefore looking to other hospitals. Meanwhile, Medibank might experience a mass exodus of clients.
The negotiations are causing major stress, not least among current Ramsay Health Care patients wondering about the future of their treatment.
The issue is particularly pertinent at one of Ramsay’s key private hospitals, Brisbane’s New Farm Clinic.
The clinic treats all kinds of mental illness on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. It also provides 10 of Queensland’s ridiculously meagre 15 eating disorder beds.
I’d wager there are very few private patients who could afford to cover the full cost of their treatment, which can roll into thousands of dollars per day. Patients can always switch insurance providers, but who wants that kind of hassle – especially when you’re already dealing with a serious illness?
Fingers crossed the kerfuffle is resolved quickly and sensitively.
You can find a detailed report on the issue from The Sydney Morning Herald here.
What are your thoughts on the matter?