Preferred providers

WHY WE AREN'T preferred providers

One of the most common questions we get is whether or not we are a preferred provider with a particular health insurance fund, and the answer is ‘no’.

There are a few reasons, but in short it comes down to two things:

  • maintaining our autonomy
  • maintaining the quality of service that we provide.

The preferred provider fees encourage practices to see more patients per hour to make it worthwhile. 

We choose not to buy into that way of working because:

  1. we don’t want to shorten our treatment sessions – we value the amount of face-to-face time that we spend with each patient
  2. we don’t ever want our patients to feel rushed out the door
  3. we don’t want to burn out our therapists

In years gone by, I have worked in environments with 15 and 20 minute appointment times, and it just doesn’t work if you want to explore and get to the bottom of a problem (and actually talk to a patient).

One of the reasons that we opened our own practice was so that we could have appointment lengths that allowed us to provide the best service for our clients.

We weren’t interested on the massive patient turnover of other practices, which is the only way you can make the capped price services work.

This page will fully explain our point of view, but if you have any extra questions, don’t hesitate to call us on 8356 1000.

NB: It is important to note that as long as you have the appropriate extras cover, you will be able to claim with us from any health fund and get an on-the-spot rebate from your fund at the time of your appointment.’

Frequently-asked questions

Q - Are you a preferred provider with ...

We are not preferred providers with any fund.

That might mean that the rebate for your appointment is less. This will depend on the health fund and your level of cover.

The difference is that if you choose a preferred provider, you get a higher rebate initially BUT you will use up your allocated amount of cover quicker.  

So if you have treatment with us, your rebate might be lower initially but it will last you longer.   

It may mean that your cover will last closer to 12 months rather than running out completely after a few months. 

The size of the rebates and therefore the speed that you use it will depend on the level of cover you have selected.

Q - Is the amount available less if I don't see a preferred provider?

No. It is important to note that whether you choose a preferred provider or not, it doesn’t change the overall amount of money your health fund will give you for physio per year.  

If you are someone that uses all of your health insurance rebates each year, by the end of the year there is no financial advantage in seeing a preferred provider.

Q - Why aren't you a preferred provider?

When we opened in 2009, we wanted to be a preferred provider with as many funds as possible to help build the business.

However, we were disappointed to find that all of the funds had enough providers in the area, and were not prepared to take on any more.

It demonstrated an important lesson to us. 

Being a preferred provider has nothing to do with quality of service or skill, it was purely a first come-first served situation.

Interestingly, the health funds can imply that preferred providers are better therapists. This isn’t the case – there are no quality standards involved in being a preferred provider.

Q - Why is the gap so big compared with ...?

The health funds don’t index their rebates for non-preferred providers. For example, the rebate for BUPA apparently hasn’t changed since the 1980s. We encourage you to challenge your health fund on this.

Our therapists spend a lot of time developing their knowledge, keeping up with the latest treatment techniques and developing their chosen specialities.

We schedule one hour professional education sessions twice per week, when we meet as a group to further our knowledge, do courses and learn from each other.

The fees reflect our physios’ experience, and their commitment to bettering themselves with ongoing education. This in turn benefits our patients because it means quicker and better results.

If price is a factor, there are physios in the area that are preferred providers with all of the health funds, please check with your health fund to find out who is in the area.

However, we can’t vouch for their skills or knowledge.

We have learnt some lessons over the years that have made us stick to our guns on the topic of preferred providers!

Lesson #1

Being a preferred provider doesn’t have any bearing on the quality of service that you get as a customer. It only means that a provider got in first.

Lesson #2

When you sign up to be a preferred provider, the fund caps the prices for each service. They do this based on their own assumption of appointment length. This ultimately affects the service provided.

Lesson #3

We have heard some stories that make it a disincentive to become a preferred provider. 

For example, a practice decided to leave the preferred provider program with a major provider. All of their patients who were insured with that provider received a letter implying that the physio had been asked to leave, and suggesting they go to another preferred provider.

We choose not to do something that could damage our business in the future.

Lesson #4

When you choose a preferred provider it doesn’t actually change the overall amount of money your health fund will give you for physio per year.