I have a young family and my wife and I are under the assumption that if a major surgery needed to take place that costs are covered by the government.

I would like to understand what the situation is, say one of us broke a bone or had some other serious health complication, who pays for the costs of going to hospital?

Also, if it was elective surgery, say I picked up a non-life threatening injury playing sport and had to have it operated on, who pays?

We currently only use medicare (no private insurance).

  • Are you resident in Australia, as opposed to visiting, and how long have you been there? – DJClayworth Feb 18 '14 at 3:27
  • @DJClayworth - I am a full citizen, born here. – going Feb 19 '14 at 0:06

If you don't have private health insurance you will not pay anything if you go to a public hospital in a public room and use a public doctor. If you chose a private room in a public hospital you would have to pay for every day you are in there. Also if you chose your own private doctor you may have to pay for his time and work as well. If you don't mind sharing a room with others in a public hospital and use the first public doctor available then you don't pay anything.

In the public system, if it is an emergency you or the member of your family will be looked after as soon as possible. If it is elective surgery you will need to join the waiting list, which could be anywhere between a couple of months to a couple of years depending on the type of surgery and the number of people currently on the waiting list.

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