In Australia, there are both public and private hospitals. Public hospitals will predominantly provide short-term care for serious cases or longer-term care for cases such as rehabilitation. Private hospitals are in the main owned by private organisations, some of which are non-profit based. In 2017-18 there were 693 public hospitals and 657 private hospitals in Australia.
All Australian citizens or permanent residents are entitled to free public hospital cover under the Medicare system but must first be referred by their GP. Overseas visitors from countries having a reciprocal health agreement with Australia can also access Medicare benefits not including non-urgent or ongoing medical treatment. Visitors from other countries need insurance to cover any hospital related expenses or else they will be liable to pay for their own treatment, which can often be expensive.
As a patient in a private hospital you can choose your doctor and subject to intake, you may get your own room. Medicare will cover 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for a general practitioner and 85% of the MBS fee for service provided by a specialist. However, Medicare will not cover home nursing, ambulance service and most dental examinations and treatment. These costs can be covered by private health insurance or by the patient.