Private hospitals and public hospitals compete directly is in the treatment of private patients.

Private health insurance-funded patients in public hospitals increased by 110% between 2004–05 and 2012–13. This increase has been much faster than the overall increase in number of admissions in public hospitals:

 Public-private website

The result is an increasing trend in the proportion of private patients in public hospitals. From 2004–05 to 2012–13, the proportion of private patients in public hospitals has increased from just under 8% to 12%.

 public-private website 2

 The facts:

In 2012–13:

  • 1 in 6 hospitalisations in public hospitals were related to non-public patients. Public hospitals treated 922,357 non-public patients. This was 16.7% of total public separations (5,530,195) (AIHW 2014:133).
  • 1 in 8 hospitalisations in public hospitals were funded by private health insurance. Public hospitals treated 686,076 privately insurance patients. This was 12.4% of total public separations (AIHW 2014:133).
  • 1 in 32 hospitalisations in private hospitals were public patients. Private hospitals treated 119,236 public patients. This was 3.1% of total private separations.

In the year to 31 December 2013:

  • Public hospitals received more than $892 million in benefits from private health insurance funds. This was 10.3% of all benefits paid out for that period (PHIAC 2013).
  • Private health insurance benefits paid out to public hospitals for privately insured patients increase by 11.2% annually (average since year to Dec 03) (PHIAC 2013).




AIHW 2014. Australian Hospital Statistics 2012–13. Health services series. Cat. no. HSE 145. Canberra: AIHW.

PHIAC 2013. Statistical trends in membership and benefits data tables. December 2013. Viewed at