Accounts and charges at NALHN services

When you arrive at hospital, you or your family will be asked to complete admission forms, including a patient information form. This form enables you to select whether to be treated as a public patient by a doctor allocated to you by the hospital or as a private patient by a doctor of your choice who either works at the hospital or who has visiting rights. In some cases, patients are given admission forms to complete before they arrive at hospital. If you have received your admission forms in advance, please make sure you bring them with you.

Public patients

As a public Medicare patient, you are entitled to treatment in the public health care system and you generally do not have to pay for your treatment or your stay in hospital.

Patients who remain in hospital for longer than 35 days who no longer require hospital care may be liable to pay a fee.

Long Stay patients

What is a Long Stay patient?

If you have been in any SA Hospital for more than 35 days in a row, you are considered a Long Stay Patient. Speak with your medical team about your length of stay and what this means for you.

Charges for Long Stay patients

From day 36 onwards you may be charged a daily patient contribution charge to contribute towards your living costs while in hospital. If you are assessed as needing to stay in hospital because of acute care needs by your doctor you will not be charged the daily fee.

If your care could be provided somewhere else, you will be charged the daily fee.

You will be invoiced for the patient contribution fee either upon discharge or at the end of each month. The current daily patient fee is $74.20. The fee is adjusted twice a year in accordance with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by the Australian Government in March and September every year.

Does it matter if I have private health insurance?

It does not matter whether you are a public or private patient. Your private health fund will not cover these costs.

Do you have any other questions?

If you have any questions relating to whether you are a Long Stay Patient, your health condition or treatment, talk to your medical team or hospital staff.

Private patients

Private patients can request to be treated by a particular doctor, provided that doctor has the clinical privilege to practice at the hospital. If you choose to be treated as a private patient, every effort is made by the hospital to organise for your nominated private health fund to be billed directly.

Please ask the staff to arrange a visit from the Patient Liaison Officer to discuss payment of your account while you are in hospital. Staff will provide you with further information, including any additional fees and charges. If you do not have private health insurance, you can still be admitted as a private patient and you will pay a competitive rate for your stay in hospital and other expenses. The account will be sent to you once you are discharged from the hospital. Single rooms are allocated on a clinical needs basis.

Compensation claims: worker’s compensation, third-party or common law claims

If your hospital admission is the result of a compensation claim, it is important that you tell the admitting staff which insurance company or solicitor is handling your case so that accounts can be processed accordingly.

Residents from other countries (non-Medicare patients)

Residents of countries that share a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia are usually eligible for free emergency treatment under Australia’s Medicare system. This arrangement does not entitle overseas patients to treatment as private patients or for elective admissions.

Residents of countries that do not have a reciprocal agreement with Australia are not eligible for free treatment. In these cases, patients will be responsible for paying all expenses associated with treatment, including medical, diagnostic, hospital stay, prosthetic, pharmaceutical and ambulance fees.

Holders of travel insurance may be able to lodge a claim for these costs through their travel insurance company.

Related information

For hospital-specific information regarding hospital accounts and charges, please refer to each hospital website: