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"I gambled on Australia's public health system and lost"

My brother had a number of emergency and unexpected surgeries last year, and the out of pocket costs were huge - major impact on his family, and like most people, they thought they were paying to have this stuff covered!

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@jonathan will be on ABC’s 7.30 program tonight sharing his experience in the Australian health care system. You can also read more about how is handling the private health insurance conundrum here:

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The wife and I have had private health cover for over 40 years mostly with Medibank Private. I have a heart condition and have given up on the local public hospital after waiting 5+ hours in the emergency department and was told to go home and book an appointment with Cardiologist. After spitting the dummy big time I was admitted to the Private Hospital next door to the public hospital and my Cardiologist was called. It was found that a coronary artery was 80% blocked. I now have any “meat wagons / blood boxes” called take me straight to the local Private Hospital as I know they can handle heart issues ($250 emergency fee covered by Medibank Private if an overnight stay is ordered). To go with the above the wife has just had a hip replaced, admitted to a private hospital for operation within 30 days of final tests with out of pocket of around.$750 all up. Yes you can have problems private health insurance and out of pocket expenses but issues can be dramatically reduced if you and your GP do your homework.

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Well stated, but the words not written are that GPs do not have information on which specialists charge what any more than we individuals. ‘Buying’ private medicine is either prioritising the surgeon (reputation, recommendation, referral) or ringing around with the realisation some are not happy to discuss their fees over the phone.

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It appears the private system has some flaws. The public system, worts and all, at least provides something.

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