The ongoing value of health cover

One of the biggest drivers of Australians taking up hospital cover is the health of the public hospital system – specifically planned (elective) surgery waiting times.

A key advantage of having private hospital cover is that you can get your planned surgery done in a private hospital with the specialist of your choice as soon as your specialist is ready (it is usually very speedy).*

Planned surgeries in public hospitals as a public patient naturally are not as urgent as emergency admissions and are prioritised accordingly (although planned surgeries do have clinically recommended timeframes to operate under). The private system is generally much faster.

Waiting times for planned surgery in public hospital

There is plenty of public hospital data to explore. We pay most attention to the movements in annual statistics.

The overall median (the midpoint) waiting period for planned surgery in public hospitals rose to 41 days in the year to 30 June 2019, up one day on the year before.

Cataract surgery, removing cloudy eye lenses that can occur in older people, was the most common public planned surgery in 2019. The median wait time for cataract surgery in Australian public hospitals is 84 days (with half waiting longer).

Here are a few public hospital elective surgery waiting times in 2019. You could be waiting:*

  • 61+ days for a hysterectomy
  • 84+ days for cataract surgery
  • 108+ days to have varicose veins stripped
  • 119+ days for a total hip replacement
  • 125+ days to have tonsils removed
  • 209+ days or a total knee replacement

And 50% of people will wait even longer than that.

With hospital cover, you will be in hospital as soon as your specialist is ready.

*You will need to have served your waiting periods.

Bonus reason:

100% Ambulance cover

We include our excellent ambulance cover for all our members. Our ambulance cover is at the very top end of the market for coverage. It covers 100% of air, land and sea journeys within Australia for emergencies and medically necessary ambulance travel with no annual limit.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘Elective surgery’ 2018-19

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