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In Australia, there are  public and private hospitals. Public hospitals most often provide short-term care for acute cases or rehabilitation. Private hospitals are  owned by private organisations, some of which are non-profit based. In 2010-11 half of the 1,340 hospitals in Australia were public hospitals.

All Australian citizens and also permanent residents are entitled to free public hospital cover but under the Medicare system  must first be referred by their GP. Overseas visitors from all countries that have a reciprocal health agreement with Australia should also be able to access Medicare benefitshowever, this does not include non-urgent or on going medical treatment. Visitors from other countries not with reciprocal arrangements with Australia must have insurance to cover any hospital related expenses. They will otherwise be liable to pay for their own treatment, which can be expensive.

Private hospitals provide 40% of all hospital treatments in Australia and in a private hospital you are entitled to your choice of doctor. Subject to intake, you may be lucky enough to get your own room. Medicare will cover 75% of the Medicare schedule of fees for services and procedures which are  provided by your doctor in a private hospital but will not coverthe  hospital accommodation costs and extras such as theatre fees and medicines. These costs will be covered by private health insurance or by the patient.

For further information go to www.health.gov.au  or www.humanservices.gov.au






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