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Health Minister steps in after Bupa leaves cancer sufferer in the lurch

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Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says patients must be a priority as private health insurers negotiate contracts with treatment providers.

The Minister’s comments come after insurance giant Bupa announced its gap cover will no longer apply to customers who are with doctors or medical professionals outside their approved providers.

Mr Hunt has stepped in and contacted Bupa’s CEO after Ray Hadley revealed the policy changes would leave a breast cancer sufferer in the lurch.

Listener Chris called Ray last week saying his wife, who is undergoing aggressive breast cancer treatment at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, would be hit hard by the reforms.

The Lifehouse is no longer on Bupa’s approved list of providers and it would leave the couple with higher out-of-pocket costs they can’t afford.

Mr Hunt tells Ray he’s confident the problem will be solved.

“The indication I have is that Bupa and the magnificent Chris O’Brien Lifehouse are close to an agreement. I have urged Bupa to be generous, to be constructive.

“It’s a private relationship, but my involvement has been to very very clearly urge for an agreement and, on balance, I’m very optimistic.”

Ray is also putting the heat on his health insurance provider HCF to do a deal with the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

“I’ve actually sung the praises of HCF on my program because I’ve been with them much of my adult life.”

He’s threatening to pull the plug on his care unless they do the right thing.

“If HCF don’t do a deal with Chris O’Brien Lifehouse I’ll be opting out of HCF and I’ll encourage all my listeners with HFC… to go and find another health insurance company as well.

“The ball is back in the court of the CEO of HCF. Do the deal with Chris O’Brien Lifehouse or I’ll make it my life’s work to encourage people, starting with me, to dissociate with HCF.”

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