Informed financial consent
In order to confirm the costs involved for your procedure and identify if there will be any out of pocket expenses, your specialist should provide a breakdown of expected costs in writing prior to your treatment or admission to hospital. This is called an "informed financial consent" or "written estimate of fees".
Make sure to ask for informed financial consent
Before receiving treatment you're entitled to know who will be treating you and how much each doctor or specialist (if there is more than one, and there usually is) will charge. Our online tools let you check the average costs involved with your procedure.
Once you have this cost information from your specialist and hospital, you can review your potential out of pocket expenses and decide with your specialist if you need to make any changes to your proposed treatment plan. Our questions in Choosing a specialist and Choosing a hospital can help you start this conversation. You can also contact us if you need more information about making the most of being an nib member.
A "informed financial consent" or "written estimate of fees" should include:
- Details of the proposed procedure including hospital, admission date, procedure details such as MBS items, their description and fee for each item.
- Other services or specialists such as anaesthetist, assistant surgeon, pathology and radiology, including their estimate of fee.
- Any prosthetics that may be required depending on the procedure you are having, including the full fee for these and the health fund benefit.
- Patient or guardian signature and date.
Not all specialists will provide this, so be sure to ask for it.
Sometimes anaesthetist fees aren’t reflected on your informed financial consent. You can usually talk to your specialist for an idea of the costs involved.
Costs aren't the only thing to lock in; you should talk to your specialist to make sure you feel comfortable with your treatment. See our list of questions to ask your specialist.
What happens if I'm in an emergency?
If you are in an emergency situation sometimes it isn't possible to get an estimate of fees before you're treated. You are entitled to find out about your medical costs as soon as possible after receiving treatment. If for any reason you can’t be provided with the information personally, your relatives or next of kin can act on your behalf. For more information see, Should I use my private health insurance in a public hospital?