Private care in a private hospital vs. private care in a public hospital

It can be tricky to understand the ins and outs of the health system, particularly if you’re like Dorothy and

It can be tricky to understand the ins and outs of the health system, particularly if you’re like Dorothy and her husband who have never had to claim despite having private health insurance.

This week, Dorothy asked if the Starts at 60 community could assist. This is her question:

For 50 years or so we have had Private Hospital and Extras Cover with various health funds. We have not been frequent visitors to hospital. I have had elective surgery, breast cancer, knee replacement but in that time my husband has only had one admission to a public hospital with an emergency. We are nearing 70, so possibly thee will be more hospital visits to come.

I would like to find out from the Starts at 60 community, what they think of Private Health cover in a Private Hospital, compared to Private Health Cover in a Public Hospital?

Have they still been able to have the surgeon of their choice? Is there a list available of surgeons who practice in public hospitals?

I would be most grateful of any information I can glean before I make the decision to change for financial reasons.

We’ve had a look into it and have found one of the biggest benefits to private health cover in hospital is that waiting times for elective surgery are greatly reduced.

Public hospital waiting lists operate on a priority basis but with private health cover, however, you’re given a definite date for your op that’s locked in (and usually a whole lot quicker). Plus you get to pick your own doctor or specialist to do the job.

Tell us, what has been your experience with private and public health care?

  1. My husband had hip replacement surgery at Royal Perth hospital and had no choice of docter even though we went in as a private patient The Joan.whole thing was a nightmare we won’t forget in a hurry!

  2. Robyn Hardy  

    Lismore Base Hospital. Public Hospital. Used my private cover. Had my specialist and was very happy with everything.

  3. Happy  

    went into emergency for an appendix operation – the admissions staff asked me if I had private heath insurance – I said I did – they put me in a nice ward – I don’t know for sure but I thought it was called private

    on checking out a couple of days later the discharges clerk asked me if I had been a public or private patient – I said I wasn’t sure – she shrugged her shoulders and let me go – no charge – thank you very much.

    I didn’t choose my doctor – I had no idea before hand – and was treated by the rostered emergency surgeon, etc. – so that seemed fair to me.

  4. Heather Margaret  

    We had private health insurance plus extras for years. Our spectacles still cost extra, dentures cost extra, physio cost extra to our cover and we were in the highest level. Between the two of us we have been in hospital three times in the last 40 years, no more than a few days each time. A year after retirement we decided to drop private health. We put this money into a separate bank account for the next few years, this paid for our new spectacles etc, and we still had a nice nest egg. Last year my husband had four skin cancers, one very bad one on his ear which needed a skin graft. Our doctor recommended the specialist, we paid $70 for the initial visit. Their removal, stay in hospital and follow up visits were all covered by public health, all done within a month of visiting the specialist. By the way highly recommend Noosa District Hospital and Staff.

  5. Pamela  

    Years ago, without private cover, I was a public patient in a public hospital with my choice of doctor.

    He simply booked me in to the hospital when he was rostered to work there.

  6. Tupps  

    Thought of dropping it due to never using it and nearly $5K a year for couple, top cover, year after year after year. Luckily I didn’t because out of the blue, got very sick. 7 weeks inpatient, theatre fees, medications, ICU, physio, speech, pathology, MRIs etc some $60,000 later, will NEVER not have private health cover. Kids agreed to pay it between them when/if the time comes that we can’t, as our one annual very thing gift! Plus they get the inheritance 😆

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