How long are public hospital waiting times in Australia?
Australia’s public health system is world-class, but wait times for public hospitals can be long and inconvenient. Finding private health insurance that works around the public system could help you avoid long waits for the treatments you need.
There are many benefits to Medicare but one of the major drawbacks is the long wait times for non-emergency surgery, which can often lead to prolonged periods of pain or discomfort while you wait to be treated.
This guide covers current average wait times for elective surgery and emergency care, what the longest wait times are for certain treatments, and how choosing the right private health insurance can help you avoid the back end of a long waiting list.
Elective (non-emergency) surgery in a public hospital can come with long waiting lists.
Many public hospitals are still dealing with an elective surgery backlog for treatment from the pandemic restrictions in 2020.
Having an appropriate private health insurance policy can speed up your surgery.
Appropriate hospital cover allows you more control over your treatment.
Sometimes. Your treatment may have a cost that isn’t covered by Medicare or your private health insurance.
This is known as a gap.
It occurs when your doctor charges a fee that is higher than the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee and your insurer won’t cover the difference.
To minimise out-of-pocket costs, it’s a good idea to shop around for a policy with a “no gap” scheme.
Some funds have a “known gap” scheme.
This means you’ll still have to pay out-of-pocket costs, but you know exactly how much before your treatment or procedure, so there are no unpleasant surprises.
Does private health insurance cover private emergency care?
Your insurance will only cover you when you’re formally admitted to a private hospital as an inpatient.
This means a doctor has determined that you need hospital care and you have been assigned a bed.
If you arrive at a private hospital emergency department and are not formally admitted to hospital, you are considered an outpatient.
Some health funds won’t cover you in this situation.
Should I get private hospital cover?
Appropriate private hospital cover can help you access treatment faster, allows you to choose your doctor and gives you more control over your health care.
Comparing different health funds ensures you’re getting what you need and not paying for what you don’t, as well as minimising gap fees.
You can find a policy that ticks all your boxes, giving you peace of mind in case you need treatment.
Our advisers can help you find affordable cover, or switch you to a new policy that better suits your needs.
In 2020, Compare Club saved customers who compared and switched with us $312 on average*.
Where can I find the best private hospital cover?
Everybody has different needs. What’s best for one person may be too expensive or inadequate for somebody else.
That’s why it’s a good idea to shop around and compare hospital cover.
In just a few clicks, you can compare hundreds of policies from our panel of trusted insurers.
Our specialists can help you through the process so you’re covered for what you need.
If you hold a Medicare card, you are unlikely to be charged any out-of-pocket expenses for your emergency care when you visit a public hospital.
Australia's public health system has many benefits, but wait times to access non-emergency surgery can be long and inconvenient, which is why many Australians choose to take out private health insurance.
Compare Club can help you find the right private cover for your needs, or help you save by switching your existing policy.
Get in touch with us to find a great deal in just a few minutes.