The country’s public hospital, Mount St. John’s Medical Centre and several insurance companies are not seeing eye-to-eye.
The facility’s chairman, Bernard Percival says the firms owe the hospital millions of dollars and legislation is being considered to ensure the debts are cleared and to prevent a recurrence.
We have had discussions with most of the local insurance companies. They have been some minor improvements in their responses to our requests that they make payments for the patients who they have insured.
But we figure that it’s going to be necessary to introduce some legislation so to correct the notion that the Medical Benefit’s Scheme is suppose to be doing it for the insured as a first resort.
It does put a serious burden on the hospital financially because the persons who are in fact carrying medical insurance do not use that medical insurance when they come to Mount St. John’s Medical Centre but they are prepared to use it when they go to private doctors to pay exorbitant costs
Percival reasons that if the hospital is unable to provide services, greater demand will be placed on the insurance companies.
We have tried to impress upon the insurance companies that if we are not in the position to provide the funding for Mount St. John’s. It is going to mean that the insured are going to be demanding more of them for travelling if we can’t provide services locally.
So we have gotten a better response from them having met most of them but we are still having a little resistance and therefore find it is necessary to introduce legislation to sort of point out exactly the role of Medical Benefits is and what is the role of private insurance.
Percival tells Observer Media private companies should share the financial burden…
But the head of one of the country’s leading insurance firms says the hospital wants the private sector to bear all the costs.
The executive wants to remain anonymous but tells Observer Media that Mount St. John’s engages in unfair practices when it comes to billing for health services.
According to the source, the fees for patients with private health insurance are double those for residents relying on the Medical Benefits Scheme.
The executive also shot down Percival’s claim that insurance companies owe the hospital millions of dollars.
The well-placed source explains that Mount St. John’s often provides service without following the procedure of checking with firms to see how much insurance coverage a patient might have.
The manager gave the example of a woman who was hospitalised for bed rest for six months. At the end of the stay, Mount St. John’s sent a company a bill for 50 thousand dollars…
The insurance executive says the dilemma comes because the coverage for pregnancy is about six thousand dollars or less a year.
The insurance boss says the companies will pay the policy limits leaving the hospital with two choices. Take up the matter with MBS or write off the debt.
Mount St. John and insurance companies feud