Dodgy knees and cataracts most common ailments, says Medibank


Hip and knee replacements were among the most common procedures and ailments claimed by privately insured patients last financial year, according to a new Medibank report.

The five most common same-day hospital services claimed by Medibank customers were colonoscopies, chemotherapy, dialysis, rehab and cataract procedures.

Medibank’s latest Health Cost and Utilisation Report, for the 2016 financial year, shows substantial increases in overall hospital admissions but in particular for hip and knee replacements, pointing to a trend of a growing number of Australians suffering osteoarthritis or other musculoskeletal conditions.

Knee replacements were up by 11 per cent in the last four years from 2013 to 2016, and inpatient rehab admissions by 15 per cent in the same period.

Hospital benefits paid out on behalf of customers also increased, but general medical benefits were down.

In total, $2.48 billion in hospital benefits were paid to Medibank customers last financial year, a rise of 9.7 per cent since 2013.

Of the top 10 highest benefits paid for hospital care, six were for neonatal, with the largest single hospital claim of more than $430,000 for the care of a newborn infant.

Medical benefits paid totalled $517 million, a decline of 1.3 per cent.

Out-of-pocket costs remained a concern for many private health customers, said chief medical officer Dr Linda Swan.

“It’s important to discuss potential out-of-pocket charges with your surgeon or specialist, as providers can charge very different out-of-pocket costs and many don’t charge extra fees at all,” Swan said.

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