1 in 5 uninsured patients going private

Richard Laycock 13 March 2018 NEWS

Bored in hospital waiting room

Aussies sick of waiting lists are paying to jump the queue.

Patients fed up with the wait times for surgery in public hospitals are turning to private hospitals, according to a recent survey from finder.com.au. The study found that almost one-in-five (19%) Aussies had paid to go to a private rather than visiting a public hospital.

Of those choosing private over public, almost half had self-funded a surgery.

These findings come at a time when national waiting times for elective surgeries have blown out to 38 days (2016-17), according to the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report. These wait times amount to 149,000 years waiting in 2017, according to a finder.com.au analysis of the AIHW data.

Those in NSW account for the most years waiting at 66,886 years, with the Northern Territory accounting for the least at 1,303 years.

State2016 median waiting days2017 median waiting daysTotal years worth of waiting in 2017
NSW555466,886 years
VIC303024,685 years
QLD293226,038 years
WA303411,934 years
SA403910,770 years
TAS72454,656 years
ACTNA462,926 years
NT29281,303 years
Australia3738149,198 years

If you're considering having treatment in a private hospital, you may want to consider taking out private health insurance to minimise how much you'll be paying out-of-pocket. Some of the larger health funds such as HCF and Medibank have out-of-pocket calculators, which allow you to search the procedure you're having and find out what costs you'll likely incur.

In any case, if you're planning to visit a private hospital make sure you understand all of the costs involved so that you're not caught out by unexpected out-of-pocket costs.

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