We Need to See What We Need to Pay

The Australian Society of Ophthalmologists has joined other peak medical groups in calling for clearer financial guidelines for patients before receiving treatment.

Currently there are three options for patients when medical expenses arise:  Medicare, private health insurance and out-of-pocket costs.  Whilst both the ASO and patients acknowledge that these three sources of funding will not change, what does need to change is the ‘surprise’ factor of unexpected out-of-pocket costs which sometimes occurs.

“Patients have a right to know what they need to pay prior to undertaking any medical procedure,” says ASO President Dr Peter Sumich.  “Out-of-pockets costs, or the fear of unexpected out-of-pocket costs, should not be the basis under which patients elect to receive medical services.  Informed financial consent is the only way to alleviate this,”

Dr Sumich says.

The AMA’s recent Informed Financial Consent Guide, a collaboration between doctors, patients and peak medico-political bodies such as the ASO, is designed to help patients to fully understand the costs of their healthcare.

The guide covers:

  • Important financial questions to ask your doctor
  • The reasons why medical fees can change
  • Excessive Fees
  • How to dispute private health insurance rebates
  • How to dispute fees with your doctor
  • Informed financial agreements
  • An estimate of medical fees form

The guide is a vital tool to help increase health financial literacy in Australia and is backed by 28 of the peak medical groups covering areas such as anaesthetists, dermatologists, exercise physiologists, general practitioners, pathologists, physicians, psychiatrists, surgeons and many more.

Informed Financial Consent: A Collaboration Between Doctors and Patients is available at


Dr Peter Sumich is available for interview

For further information, please contact Sally Symonds, National Manager, Media & Communications ASO – 0417 727 625

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