Waits for elective surgery cut by insurance deal, at no cost to patients
More than 200,000 patients undergo elective surgery in NSW each year, and most face either long wait times, or have to spend thousands of dollars in health insurance gap payments.
But now the country's biggest private health fund has quietly signed a deal with a major private hospital operator that has seen more than a thousand patients get immediate joint surgery without any upfront costs.
Lisa Borsey is one of them. Her first hip replacement cost her $7000.
So when the familiar agony started in the other hip, she thought she'd be waiting and saving for months.
Thankfully, her surgeon, Dr Stoita, had a 'no-gap' option.
"I was just so happy that I could just do it and I didn't have to worry about it," Borsey said.
She is one of more than a thousand patients across NSW and Victoria who've benefited from a new agreement between Medibank and Healthe Care to provide no-gap services for hip and knee replacements and endoscopies.
Medibank Group Executive Milosh Milisavljevic said people are saving hundreds of dollars and getting faster treatment.
"What we've been able to do is save on average $1500 in out of pocket costs which is a big deal for families and will mean a number of individuals will get surgeries that otherwise would have delayed," Milisavljevic said.
Medibank and other funds like NIB and HCF have offered no-gap surgeries at select locations.
But this deal almost doubles the number of hospitals offering the no gap option to include Hurstville Private, Tuggerah Lakes Private, Lingard in Newcastle and crucially, a number of NSW regional private hospitals like Dubbo and Maitland.
Healthe Care CEO Matt Hanrahan said it's an important move.
"The key priority here is that patients get access to the care they need as soon as they can," Hanrahan said.
These surgeries are free in the public health system but the delay can be torturous.
Most patients are waiting eight to 12 months for a hip or knee replacement in a public hospital. Many wait even longer.
The latest figures show 24 per cent of hip replacement patients and 37 per cent of people needing a knee replacement in New South Wales wait more than a year.
Saving time and money are both crucial to the ultimate outcome.
Dr Razvan Stoita, Surgeon at Healthe Care said it helps patients get better.
"The more we can alleviate all the other concerns the better the patients will do and the more they'll focus on their recovery," Stoita said.
Healthe Care are pleased to offer patients Hip and Knee Joint Replacement Surgery with no extra to pay - in Sydney, Melbourne, Illawarra, Newcastle, Central Coast, Mid North Coast and Dubbo.
No Gap Surgery allows patients to get immediate joint surgery without any upfront costs* with a fully qualified and experienced Orthopaedic Surgeon.
*Hospital Excess and/or hospital co-payment per members healthfund policy will apply on hospital admission.