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Cairns Private Hospital urges local Bupa customers to understand their chosen health cover to avoid unexpected out-of-pocket costs

June 13, 2022

Cairns Private Hospital is urging local Bupa members to ensure they are not hit with unexpected out-of-pocket expenses when accessing the hospital in the future.

Cairns Private Hospital CEO, Ben Tooth, said that while health staff have been working tirelessly during the Covid pandemic to care for the community, Bupa has not made an offer that will cover the increasing wage and supply costs needed to ensure ongoing quality patient care.

“Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to reach a new agreement with Bupa and our current contract will end in less than two months,” Mr Tooth said.

“Over the past two years, our nurses have worked diligently to look after the community and continue to provide excellent patient care throughout the pandemic. Our staff put themselves on the frontline each and every day to ensure Cairns locals receive the top quality health care they need.

“In fact, everyone at Cairns Private Hospital has done their utmost to protect our patients from exposure to Covid, especially the most vulnerable people in our community. We have provided PPE, increased our cleaning, and delivered additional infection prevention training to our staff, and this increase in vigilance and ensuring patient safety comes at a significant cost.

“Sadly, Bupa’s offered rate of indexation is well below inflation and well below what our hard-working staff deserve in terms of wage increases. What Bupa has offered does not address the significant cost increases hospitals have been experiencing to protect our patients and health care workers.

“In the meantime, private health insurers accumulated $2 billion in profits.

“Unless a new agreement can be reached with Bupa by 2 August, Bupa patients accessing Cairns Private Hospital may be required to pay the shortfall for treatment costs as an additional out-of-pocket expense.

“Bupa patients wanting to access Cairns Private Hospital may like to consider reviewing their private health insurance to ensure they know what they’re covered for.

“It’s worth noting that Ramsay has agreements with all other private health funds in Australia.”

By law, consumers changing funds won’t have to re-serve the normal waiting periods again if retaining the same level of cover. More information is available in the Ombudsman’s Right to Change brochure: bit.ly/RightToChange2022

Ramsay Health Care is committed to continuing to work toward a fair and sustainable agreement with Bupa that removes the need for additional out-of-pocket costs to be passed on to patients. If an agreement isn’t reached, Ramsay’s contract with Bupa will be terminated from 2 August 2022.

More information is available at www.protectyourcover.com.au.

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