Agreement settles dispute threatening Bupa-insured patients with higher private hospital costs
The operator of private hospitals Shepparton and Wangaratta said it has settled a dispute with health insurer Bupa which will ensure Bupa members are covered when receiving treatment at the facilities.
Earlier this month, Ramsay Health, the hospitals’ operator, went public with its dispute with Bupa, warning Bupa members to review their health coverage to avoid additional costs at both hospitals.
At the time, Ramsay said his contract with Bupa ended on August 2 and the operator was unable to reach an agreement with the insurer on “key elements of a new contract. “.
Rhys Jones, chief executive of private hospitals in Wangaratta and Shepparton, even told Bupa-insured patients that they could avoid paying extra charges by changing health funds.
The dispute concerned the rate of indexation on which the supplier and the insurer must agree.
The indexing rate allows private hospitals to cover rising patient care costs, but Ramsay had argued that Bupa’s indexing rate would not cover the cost of care for its members at Ramsay’s hospitals, which means they would face additional charges.
Ramsay and Bupa now say they have signed a new three-year buyer-hospital supplier agreement, avoiding that scenario.
Ramsay Australia chief executive Carmel Monaghan said the new agreement recognized the current cost of living pressures faced by health insurance customers as well as cost increases experienced by hospitals.
“We are delighted that the two parties have reached an agreement that allows Bupa members to continue to be covered without incurring additional costs, while ensuring the sustainability of the private health sector,” Ms Monaghan said.
Bupa Health Insurance chief executive Chris Carroll said the deal showed that health insurers and private hospitals wanted to put patients first and get healthcare costs under control.
“This three-year agreement provides our members with certainty of their coverage and avoids having to pay additional fees at Ramsay hospitals,” Carroll said.