'Patients can pay up to 300% more for private healthcare'

The BHF claims that patients are also charged excessively for unnecessary procedures.

FILE: The BHF says doctors or schemes can sometimes charge a patient twice for the same procedure. Picture: Free Images.

CAPE TOWN - The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) has accused the private healthcare sector of charging patients excessively for unnecessary procedures, saying patients can sometimes pay up to 300 percent higher than normal rates.

These claims are included in the group's submission to the Competition Commission's inquiry into the private healthcare sector.

Netcare, one of the country's major medical groups, has dismissed the claims.

The group says its comprehensive submissions to the Competition Commission's inquiry refute any claims that the company's rates are inappropriate.

The South African Medical Association has also questioned the BHF's claims.

But the BHF's Dr Rajesh Patel says doctors or schemes can sometimes charge a patient twice for the same procedure.

He says schemes base their costs on what was previously negotiated and they basically adjust the costs according to inflation.

"The 300 percent is largely a deviation between what the schemes accept what the reasonable fee is for them to pay compared to what the doctors feel they need to be paid."