Nobody enjoys going to hospital. While everyone’s hospital priorities will be having their medical needs seen to by experts in a timely manner, sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference.
Private health insurance policies vary in terms of the type of accommodation they cover – there are various combinations of private/shared rooms in private or public hospitals. It’s worth noting that regardless of what your policy covers, there is always the chance that you will be accommodated in a shared room based on the availability of beds and the clinical needs of other patients.
Private hospitals are typically more comfortable than public hospitals for you to recover in. While there is a good chance you will be accommodated in a private room, contrary to popular belief this is not guaranteed. Many patients comment that private hospitals are somewhat less ‘busy’ than public hospitals, where patient loads are likely to be higher.
If your medical needs are relatively straightforward, being treated in a private hospital is likely to make your stay less stressful and more pleasant.
Even if you are covered by private health insurance, there are times where you will be treated in a public hospital. You may be admitted to a public hospital in an emergency situation, or you may simply choose to be treated in a public hospital if you believe it is better equipped to treat you. Under these circumstances, you can ask to be treated as a private patient in a public hospital, which may entitle you to additional creature comforts, particularly the potential of a private room.
Consider the potential for a private room to be anything but a promise – those patients that have the most pressing clinical need will be given private rooms first. While being insured will certainly help, you’ll need a bit of luck as well to get a private room.
You may also be offered other benefits to being treated as a private patient in a public hospital – access to newspapers, TV and internet, or better meals.