What to Expect When Going to Hospital

Going to hospital is never really much fun. However, in a wealthy nation like Australia, we are extremely lucky when it comes to those times where a stay in hospital is required. We have so many options available to us when it comes to going to hospital, especially if we have private health insurance. Let’s take a look at what happens when (or if) you need to go to hospital.

First of all, you can always go to any public hospital in Australia as a public patient (under Medicare), but the options available to you as a patient increase when you have private health insurance. If you have private health insurance and you need to go to hospital, the first choice you have is which hospital you go to. The type of hospital you choose will depend on what is wrong and the level of care you need, but at least if you are privately insured, you can choose where you will go. You might choose a hospital that is closer to family, or base your choice on the hospitals reputation.

Here is an example. If you have to go to hospital unexpectedly for an urgent problem, you will likely be admitted to a public hospital. However, with private health insurance that includes hospital cover, you can choose which Doctor/specialist you want to look after you. Virtually all basic private health insurance plans have hospital cover, but make sure you ask your insurer. It is a good idea to double check this even if you are extremely healthy, in case an unexpected accident or illness occurs.

Maybe you are going to need elective surgery (for a non-life-threatening condition). Your private health insurance entitles you to your choice of hospital (public or private, as long as they offer the service you need). With private health cover, you can choose the doctor/specialist you want, but you can also have your surgery at a time that suits you. If your trip to hospital is elective, you need to find out if your insurance policy will cover you for the operation/ procedure/treatment you are about to have in hospital. You might need more than just basic ‘hospital cover’. For example, knee and hip replacements are elective. Very often, you need to have ‘extras’ cover for joint replacements, if you want to have all the choices discussed above available to you. Another area that falls into the extras category is pregnancy, so make sure you know exactly what your policy entitles you to well in advance of any elective surgeries or baby due dates.

One if the best tips for a checklist before you go to hospital is to call your insurer and double check what extras you are entitled to (it may be years since you were set up and we can easily forget what we are covered for). You can also discuss which extras packages will cover you for what you need. If you are not covered for what you need, you can usually be covered on the spot. Then, find out if there is a waiting period before you are fully covered. Some insurers will waive waiting periods so you are covered immediately. Make sure you ask about waiting periods if you decide to take on any extras. Find out the date you will be covered from and make sure your elective hospital visit occurs after that date, otherwise, you will not be covered.

By looking into what extras you have before going to hospital, you save yourself time, money and added stress. Look into your extras straight away when you know that an elective surgery might be coming up for you. In this situation you have the luxury of a bit of time to plan everything before you go. By the time your hospital visit comes up, you can relax and focus on your recovery.