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Thread: Surprise fees

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Ballarat
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    Default Surprise fees

    Last night I went for my first "specialist referred" consult with the IVF specialist in town. My partner came with me because he's nice like that. It all went well and we left feeling positive and hopeful- a nice change from the last couple of weeks. We paid as we were leaving like good little no-private-health-insurance people, trying to pretend we weren't surprised at it costing more than they'd quoted us when we booked the appt. When we got home I realised the extra cost in the fees was due to my partner also being charged an $80 consult fee, on top of my $169 consult fee...which strikes me as being on the Goddamn ridiculous side of unfair. It cost me $80 to have my partner in the room?
    I spoke to a friend who suggested that if he'd asked a question it would have counted as a consult. So now now my feelings of happy have turned to feelings of distrust and suspicion. Will I really need the treatment he recommends for me? Are there going to be other surprise fees? Are we going to be charged if my partner drops me off for surgery? Or is it expected that he will sit with me and not ask questions? If he writes a note and passes it to me and I ask, is that counted as a consult too?
    My real question to you all is, is this normal? Am I just to accept this is the way it is and move on, cheque book in hand, or am I better going to Melb for further treatment? Are all IVF specialists like this?


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Melbourne
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    2,008

    Default

    Sorry I haven't had experience in this area, but that sounds a bit shifty to me... I'd probably call them and quiz them on the charge (and their future charges), it all seems a bit ridiculous. I'd probably also look at getting a second opinion from someone else to see if they recommend the same treatment and have the same fee structure

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Ballarat
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    Unhappy Update

    Thanks Miss E

    I just rang the clinic and apparently it's because our fertility history was discussed (even though we knew and if he'd read our referral letter, he'd know, that the problem was with my endo...)If I want to avoid future charges for my partner I have to leave him at home

  4. #4

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    Hi JosieJo,
    Try to treat the FS like any other place - we would not accept a tyre shop or restaurant adding on an extra fee without discussing it with us - so don't feel as though you accept it from a fertility clinic. I would ring explain what has happened and say that you asked for a quote before you went and were never told at any stage there would be any other charges. They are all required to provide fee costs, and yes of course in a perfect world you would have checked before paying the bill - but that isn't a reason to charge you for something that was never mentioned.
    It's NOT the norm to do what they have done at all BTW - and it really doesn't matter if it counted as a consult or not to have your partner with you - it was never discussed as an extra charge and therefore is not appropriate to charge after the fact

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    In my own private paradise
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    15,272

    Default

    did the FS refer any testing for you as a couple? i know we paid for a double consult, and then had referrals written up for tests for both of us, so i did see it as DH being included. it doesn't sound that bad to me if he is going to be treating you both as a couple. if he has asked for SA's or all the normal STD screening before IVF, then yeah, it makes sense as he is testing both of you (BUT, it should have been advised up front). i'm pretty sure we got two rebates from medicare for the consults too. and his was almost entirely covered. we only ever paid the initial consult fee once - every subsequent visit was a set amount. the treatment was the same amount each time, and it was all charged against my name (as i was the one with the fertility issues) - had we needed to have fine needle aspirate from DH to get suitable sperm, then i believe some of it would have been his charges kwim?

  6. #6

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    Josie,

    As if a FS consult isnt hard enough, without the added expense added on top .. Not a pleasant way to end an appointment

    You are not alone, I have a girlfriend who was charged for her DH being in the room, without her knowledge, in a Sydney clinic

    I personally have never been charged for my DP being there, though after 5 cycles, I think he, due to work commitments has only been there once

    Over the coming months, (if you decide to continue with treatment) you will become quite "close" with your FS's receptionist, you should ask her, don't be
    shy to do so, trust me, they are there to help, and I have ALWAYS found my FS receptionists, to be so warm and caring, and couldnt help enough

    The last thing you need is to be going into fertility treatment with doubts, it's hard enough as it is

    :-)

  7. #7

    Default

    Hi Josie,

    I was charged for DH at the first consult too, however I was advised when we made the appointment that there would be a charge for him and yes we did claim most of it back on medicare. The Dr ordered tests for him straight away before doing too many invasive tests on me. Apparently they prefer to test the male first as it is less invasive. Even though we both had probs, every other appointment after that were only for me as I was the only one receiving actual treatment but DH came to every appointment.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Perth, WA
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    1,587

    Default

    That is ridiculous!!! My husband and I both go to all our appointments and we get a flat fee of $80 for both of us. We have male factor infertility but I ask most of the questions and do a lot of the talking. I would be getting a second opinion or a bloody big personal loan!!!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ballarat
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    Default

    I had called up and asked what the fees would be and the reception staff (incredibly lovely and go-out-of-their-way helpful) gave me the prices with and without medicare rebates, and with and without the ultrasound...but never mentioned the partner potentially being charged.

    We have already had ultra sounds (from an experienced ob-gyn who works with him) 2 laparoscopies, hormone and semen tests (all with good results)...and we had a referral letter to explain all that which went missing and was never found...and now I'm booked in for another laparoscopy.

    I'm pretty much over the extra fees but if we get to the IVF stage and need to be having endless consults it will certainly come up again- and I want to let other people know that this can happen.

    Thank you all for your replies

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    11,633

    Default

    this kind of happened to us once - it was the initial consult with both of us and the doctor examined us both and took histories from both, so it was kind of a 2 in 1 apt. We went together for plenty of other appointments and were not charged double, however.

  11. #11

    Default

    My clinic would charge me and bulk bill DH.

    Another clinic I consulted with charged for both of us, but it was a lesser amount for DH and I think it was just the schedule fee and we got it all back.

    The thing with IVF is that you are essentially BOTH patients. They treat you as a couple, rather than as an individual, and it doesn't matter whether the fertility problems are with him, you or both.

    I'm certainly not defending what they did - the clinic was always upfront about how much things would cost (we were a bit surprised by having to pay extra at the hospital for egg collection, but it kind of made sense), and our second opinion doctor's clinic also told us how much we would be paying.

    BW

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