In this paper, we develop a simple model of the benefits and costs of being on a waiting list. The model shows that complex factors are in operation, implying that a shorter waiting time need not necessarily be preferred to a longer waiting time. We also present an empirical study, where a sample of Swedes are offered the possibility of purchasing private insurance, thus reducing waiting time for surgery beyond the three-month guarantee offered by the public sector health care system. Respondents could choose between two insurance contracts. A 'spike' model, where the probability of a zero WTP is strictly positive, was developed and estimated to obtain demand functions for private insurance.