Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-of-Pocket Costs Communique

Page last updated: 21 September 2018

Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out of Pocket Costs Communiqué - 21 September 2018 (PDF 15 KB)

The third and fourth meetings of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-of-Pocket Costs (the Committee) were held on 20 June and 24 August respectively, chaired by Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy.

The meetings were attended by senior Department of Health officers and members of the Committee: comprising expert medical specialists, a consumer representative and representatives of the private health insurance and private hospital sectors. A GP representative also attended the 24 August 2018 meeting.

The Committee discussed a range of potential options to improve the transparency of medical specialist out-of-pocket costs to help consumers make better informed choices about their health care. A focus of the meeting on 24 August was to review templates identifying the types of information that could be made available to consumers, and how that information may be collected and presented. The discussion highlighted that some fee and cost issues can be specific to a specialty. Ongoing work will include further input from specialty groups to ensure the best models are considered.

The Committee discussed a range of data accuracy and other practical issues that may arise, including the importance of strong participation by specialists.

Members also discussed further the importance of consumer, GP and specialist education about out-of-pocket costs. Discussions highlighted the need to ensure that information is clear and useful during the referral process, including core messages about assessing value and cost when choosing quality health care. The use of focus groups of consumers and health provider advisors when developing materials and identifying channels for communications was discussed.

Advice on issues considered and options to improve the transparency of out-of-pocket costs will be provided to the Minister by the end of the year.