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Insurance bill means abortion pill still costly

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Women are still paying almost 10 times the publicly subsidised rate for the abortion pill RU486 because doctors have been hit with a $5000 insurance slug to prescribe the medication.

Almost six months after former Prime Minister Julia Gillard placed the so-called abortion pill on the PBS, cutting its cost to as little as $12, news.com.au has revealed that thousands of women are still being charged up to $500 because of insurance arrangements.

According to the report, the nation’s largest medical insurer, Avant, requires doctors who want to prescribe RU486 to hold the some level of cover as surgical providers – an additional impost of around $5000 for the typical GP.

As a result, most refuse to prescribe it, forcing women to obtain it from private clinics, where they are commonly charged up to $500 at a time for treatment that includes the prescription, as well as consultations and ultrasounds.

The situation has undermined the previous Government’s goal of giving women, particularly in rural and regional areas, access to a safe and cheaper option for abortion, rather than having to travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres for a surgical termination.

Gynaecologist and former AMA President Dr Andrew Pesce was quoted in the report as saying RU486 was an effective medicine if arrangements were in place to ensure women had access to care if complications arose.

Adrian Rollins