Starting your own family is an exciting adventure, although it’s not one without the unknown. Because of this, many of us prefer the comfort of a private hospital room and our own doctor when it comes time to giving birth.
However, with growing expenses (cue thousands of nappies – and then some), many also wonder if they really need to take out private health insurance for their pregnancy. To help you make the most informed decision for your needs, we’ve broken down important factors regarding how pregnancy is covered in private health insurance.
Is health insurance for pregnancy worth it?
Both public and private hospitals in Australia provide quality care for mothers during their pregnancy and the birth of their child. When it comes to private health insurance, however, you are able to choose the obstetrician who looks after you during both your pregnancy and delivery, provided your hospital cover includes pregnancy and birth-related services (otherwise known as obstetrics cover).
Once you’ve served your 12 month waiting period, you’ll be covered for accommodation, labour ward costs, and doctors’ fees at an ‘agreement private hospital’ of your choice. Depending on your health fund, you may even be able to cover the costs of your pre-natal classes.
With obstetrics cover (again, provided you have served your waiting period), you will also be paid a benefit towards your obstetrician’s fees during delivery (ask early on for a breakdown of the costs from your doctor and insurer). However, any consultations prior to being admitted to hospital will not be covered by your health fund, so set aside some money for those expenses. That being said, you can claim some portion of these costs back through Medicare.
Obstetrics cover: what you should consider
While private health insurance covers some of your medical fees, there are some pregnancy-associated costs that may come out of your pocket. It’s therefore important you carefully check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of your health insurance policy to see what is and isn’t included as part of your cover. Some policies will not cover obstetrics, or may only pay restricted benefits; some may also only cover you if you’re a private patient in a public hospital – this means if you want to deliver your baby in a private hospital, you’ll need to make sure coverage as a private patient in a private hospital is included in your policy.
Some things you will be expected to pay out of your own pocket for can include: