How to avoid excess charges for medical tests

When you have a consultation with a local doctor (also known as a GP or general practitioner) they may decide you need to have medical tests done. If that happens, the GP will refer you to a medical testing centre.

The answers to some commonly asked questions about medical tests might help you avoid paying excess charges.

medical tests

How much do medical tests cost?
The cost of medical tests can vary widely, depending on what type of test it is, and here you have the test done. For example, an ultrasound or an x-ray will cost far more than a routine blood test.
Who pays for the cost of medical tests?
Many medical tests (also known as diagnostic tests) are covered by Medicare, which is the Australian public health system. As your health insurer, we act as your Medicare. We pay the same amount that Medicare would pay, depending on your level of cover.
Do I have to go to the testing clinic my doctor recommends?
No, you can choose where to go for a medical test. Your doctor might include the address and contact details for a particular medical testing centre, but you don’t have to use the centre they nominate. If you want to choose your own, make sure you check that the testing centre is an approved facility.
Do I need to have the test done?

Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about the test.  Some questions you may ask them:

Do I really need this test?
What are the risks or side-effects?
Are there any simpler or safer alternatives?
What happens if I don’t do anything?
What are the costs?

Read this article about blood and pathology tests for more general information.

Will the cost be the same wherever I go?
Not necessarily. Private testing clinics can set their own fees, so the cost will depend on which clinic you visit. Some clinics charge more than the agreed Medicare fee, which means you would end up having to pay extra because the maximum we can pay is the agreed Medicare fee.
Will CBHS International pay for my test?
We can’t tell you that until we know what type of test you are having done. Before you decide which clinic to use, give them a call and ask them for the Medicare item numbers for your test. Then call us on 1300 174 537 (for Overseas Visitors Health Cover) or 1300 174 538 (for Overseas Student Health Cover) and we can tell you how much you will get back.

All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified healthcare professional.

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