These are Australia’s most expensive surgeries—here’s how to save money on them

Image source: Pexels

Our beautifully complex bodies are made up of 78 organs and over 200 bones, the majority of which we don’t think about until we have a reason to. A niggle here, a mysterious ache there, and suddenly we find we’re spending nearly every waking hour paying attention to a joint or muscle we even didn’t know we had.

It’s an unfortunate fact of getting older that the longer we live, the higher maintenance our bodies become. Amidst the already steep cost of living, this upkeep can come with a considerable price tag—especially if you don’t have the right insurance. In fact, the experts at Compare Club have found that the most common surgeries that older Aussies need also happen to be the most expensive.

Read on to learn about the 10 priciest surgeries to access in Australia (plus, their waiting times*), and how you can reduce these costs to get back into tip-top condition, fast.

1. Transplants

Whether it’s the liver or the heart, you can expect to fork out the equivalent of a brand-new car when replacing an organ.

Cost: $40,000 – $15,000

Average wait time: 9 months for liver or heart, 5 to 7 years for kidney

2. Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

Aimed at improving blood flow to the heart, this invasive procedure involves grafting a healthy vein or artery to bypass blockages.

Cost: $44,000

Average wait time: 18 days

3. Spinal Fusion

Involving joining two or more spine bones, this procedure is commonly performed to resolve chronic lower back pain from a degenerated disk.

Cost: $42,000

Average wait time: 12 to 18 months

4. Hip Replacement

With data from the Australian National Joint Replacement Registry showing 51,894 hip replacements were performed in 2022 (95 per cent higher than the decade before) hip replacements are on the rise amongst older Australians.

Cost: $25,000

Average wait time: 120 days

5. Colorectal Surgery

Rarely spoken about but increasingly common, this surgery involves replacing some or all of the colon or rectum, typically to treat cancer or Crohn’s disease.

Cost: $25,000

Average wait time: 15 days

6. Knee Replacement

Our knees experience plenty of wear and tear throughout our lifetimes, and getting a replacement can work wonders for those with pain and mobility issues.

Cost: $23,000

Average wait time: 223 days

7. Gallbladder Surgery

Whether it’s from inflammation, infection, or stones, gallbladder issues can be resolved through a small keyhole incision (with a not-so-tiny price tag). The waiting list time is currently between 30 and 90 days.

Cost: $17,000

Average wait time: 30 to 90 days

8. Pacemaker Insertion

As our body’s life force, matters of the heart aren’t something to be taken lightly. Involving implanting an electrical impulse-regulating device into the body, it’s hardly surprising this one comes with a five-figure cost.

Cost: $16,000

Average wait time: 30 to 90 days

9. Angioplasty and Stent Insertion

Coming in neck and neck with the pacemaker, both of these procedures are designed to increase blood flow in the veins and arteries (through a balloon and metal tube, respectively).

Cost: $16,000

Average wait time: 30 days

10. Prostatectomy: $16,000

Addressing conditions like prostatitis or prostrate cancer, this procedure involves partial or full removal of the prostate from the male pelvic region.

Cost: $16,000

Average wait time: 44 days

What does Medicare and private health insurance cover?

Most of these surgeries are considered medically necessary, which means that some or all of the cost may be covered by Medicare. However, in many cases, it only covers procedures performed in public hospitals, and you won’t have the opportunity to choose your surgeon. While some of the additional gap can be covered by private health insurance, the overall cost also varies depending on individual surgeon fees and specific medical requirements.

While the cost of these procedures can be tough to swallow, they can be nothing short of miraculous when it comes to improving longevity and quality of life. The good news is, finding the right cover for your needs now can help lighten the financial load down the track by ensuring you don’t have to pay out of pocket.

That’s where Compare Club comes in. The innovative service helps you compare dozens of private health insurance providers, so you can find the one that perfectly suits your health needs and lifestyle. Whether you’re winding down from having kids and are currently overpaying on gold hospital cover, or need to up your insurance to prepare for upcoming procedures, their experts work with you to ensure you’re only paying for what you need. By making the switch, they save their customers an average of $300 on their cover. Plus, they’ll even save you time by taking care of the paperwork.

Working with Compare Club can also help you switch to a provider with shorter or waived waiting times for certain procedures. So, you can rest easy with the knowledge that you can access life-saving medical support quickly, should you ever need it.

Ready to do your wallet and health a favour, and score a better deal on your insurance? You can get your Compare Club quote in less than two minutes here.

*Based on the longest median waiting times for elective surgeries in public hospitals across the country for 2019-20.

IMPORTANT INFO We write about products and services we think you might like and may receive payment if you click on the links in this article or go on to make a purchase. 
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up