Australians with private health insurance have the freedom to choose where they receive medical treatment and there is an increasing trend of private patients using their health insurance in public hospitals, according to figures from the Australian Health Service Alliance (AHSA).
Public patients seeking treatment in public hospitals increased by 16 per cent from 2005-06 to 2010-11, compared to a 50 per cent increase of private patients in the same facilities.
This is an average increase of 8.5 per cent of private patients each year.
Additionally, by the end of 2011, 10 per cent of all those admitted to public hospitals were using private health cover, compared to 7.8 per cent in 2005-06.
Public hospitals have benefitted significantly from increased admittance from private patients, particularly through the additional revenue.
Private patients accrued an impressive $864 million in accommodation fees at public hospitals in 2012. These expenses were covered completely by private health funds.
Additionally, private patients spent an estimated $123 million in prostheses payments and $384 million in medical fees.
There was therefore an estimated $1.37 billion of additional revenue collected by the public health sector from private patients using public hospitals.
The AHSA study also found the proportion of individuals who used private health insurance while being treated was 42.5 per cent in 2010-11, not far below the overall proportion of Australia's population belonging to a private health insurance fund (46.4 per cent).
This shows that a majority of insured Australians are likely to use their insurance when admitted to a hospital, regardless of whether it's private or public.
If you would like the option of being treated as a private patient in a public hospital you may need to review your health insurance options.
Speak with the team at HICA today for an obligation-free quote and health insurance comparison.