Self Insurance For Surgery On The Rise – 24 December 1996

More and more Australians are choosing to pay for their own medical treatment in private free-standing specialist day hospitals.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ recently released report Private Hospitals Australia, 1994-95 (quoted in healthcover Vol 6 no 6 December 1996) notes that 42.7% of admissions in free-standing facilities and 15.6% in private acute and psychiatric hospitals were self insured (paid their own way).

Since 1992-93 private hospital admissions have increased by 33%. This has led to an increase in private free-standing day hospitals of 75% from 72 to 125 since 1991-92.

“The ABS report shows that there is no doubt that more and more Australians believe modern surgery in a private facility is affordable without being in a health fund” said Mr Stephen Milgate, Executive Director of the Australian Doctors’ Fund.

The report also states that private hospital bed days now account for about 25% of all hospital bed stays in Australia.

“More patients are now able to pay for their own medical treatment regardless of the barriers put up by the Federal Government” Mr Milgate said. “Compared to the rest of the world Australian surgery and medical treatment is good value for money.”

“Most people who undergo surgery have one main surgical event in their life. Yes there is paper work. Yes there are some out of pockets costs, but its still good value” Mr Milgate said. “And with innovation, in particular through day surgery, private medicine is becoming more affordable to a greater number of people as the statistics indicate.”

“The good news about the quality of our doctors and nurses and how well they compare with other countries needs to be told more often” Mr Milgate said.