A question, which was asked recently at a private practice seminar MHM were presenting at.
The patient is responsible.
Interestingly the question was asked by a consultant surgeon who had started his/her private practice two years earlier and who was of the opinion that such excess were the responsibility of the patient’s insurance company who would collect excess or shortfall amounts from the patient on his behalf.
Sadly this is absolutely NOT the case at all.
The responsibility for collection of such items rests very squarely on the consultant himself. Consider excess and the cause of excess?
When the patient obtains private medical insurance there will be an amount – or excess – agreed on the policy. The exact amount of the excess will depend on how much the patient pays for his/her policy. Generally speaking the higher the premium, the lower the excess. It’s just like car insurance, if you agree a £500 excess, the premium will be lower than if you only agree £100. That’s fine – until you come to make a claim on your insurance.
Private medical insurance carries the same principles.
So, when the patient comes to see you and you claim the cost of your services off their insurance company there could well be excess for which the patient is liable but for which you are responsible for collection. Not the patient’s insurance company.
The consultant who asked the question called a few days later because to this horror, he had over £5,000 worth of uncollected excess in the previous two years unpaid and due to him which nobody was collecting.
The supplementary issue however is why were the excess amounts allowed to build up over two years without anybody noticing?