Some major private health insurance funds such as Medibank, Bupa, NIB and HCF have created “Preferred Provider” or “Members First/Choice” programs which they actively promote to their members when enquiring about rebates for specific services.
The actual meaning of these terms are commonly misinterpreted and being part of a “Preferred Provider” program has no relationship to the quality of the care you will receive. In fact, often it could actually mean the opposite!
To become a “Preferred Provider”, clinics must nominate themselves and sign a non-negotiable agreement that they will reduce their fees to whatever the health insurer requests in order to lower the gap required by it’s members. This reduction in price is often 25-30% lower than the industry standard (and does not increase with CPI each year) and although on the surface seems like a great result for patients, it actually encourages poorer service and decreased client outcomes.
There is no ‘selection criteria’ of a clinic based on quality of care nor are there reviews of how the clinic practices.
This unfortunately promotes reduced quality of care models with shorter consultations to compensate for the reduced fees. It is also important to note that health funds pay a flat fee to all physiotherapists, whether they have 1 or 50 years experience, no matter the additional training undertaken.
You can definitely still use your private health insurance with us for all of our services, however we are not bound to the fees set by private health funds and their “Preferred Provider” schemes.
The APA is concerned that contractual arrangements between Australian physiotherapy clinics and private health insurers create an imbalance of power. The APA submits that:
Our team do not believe that they could offer you and your family their current high level of service if they were bound by some of the terms and conditions within the “Preferred Provider” or “Members Choice” agreements. We offer longer appointments than our competitors and have access to technology and facilities that many clinics do not invest in.
At Inline Physio you are receiving quality, comprehensive care and that will always be our number one priority. We truely hope this information has helped you to better understand why we are not involved in private health fund preferred provider schemes and assisted in your choice of Physiotherapist.