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Public or Private & TTC?
TTC and Private Hospital Cover


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#1 HappyLife

Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:58 AM

Just wondering what everyone has chosen to do in regards to health insurance & TTC? Have you signed up for a private hospital cover policy, or are you planning to go through the public system?    

I currently have extras cover only with my health fund and was thinking of adding on hospital cover, but (a) it is sooooo expensive; and (b) there is a 12 month waiting period for most hospital covers (and we wanna be UTD now!).

I've had a quick little search on the net this morning & it seems that even if you do go private, there are still a lot of out of pocket expenses, while public covers most of the costs, but you don't get any choice of Doctors, usually no private room and probably less 'special attention' than private, etc;

Just seeing what everyone else has decided & if anyone has had previous experience with either (or both?).

TIA

#2 lozoodle

Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:20 AM

I've only ever gone public so I have no basis for comparison, but I have got absolutely no complaints about my care. The only things I have paid for in pregnancy are my initial GP consultation (and most back on medicare of course) and my 12 week ultrasound and bloods and got about $100 back all up. The rest has been bulk billed.

My antenatal appointments are fairly standard, but the upside is I never seem to be kept waiting, I'm usually seen within 5 minutes of arrival. I also have the same midwife each appointment so there is continuity of care there. Births have been wonderful so far, I was offered pain relief and epdirual with both, which I declined and they were respectful of my wishes and didn't push the issues. DD1 spent a couple of days in special care after her birth and the care there was amazing, I was really pleased with it. I also had my own room each time. When I was overdue with DD2, I was referred to the hospital Ob to talk possible induction, and the wait with her was a bit longer (about half hour late or so) but she was also really good and there were no issues whatsoever.

So my vote is definitely for public all the way.

#3 BubblyGal

Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:33 AM

I'm going private (due in early Feb). Total out of pocket cost so far (including management fee) are approx $3,500 (I expect another $1,500 on top of that).  That figure doesn't not include pay private health insurance premiums which include obstetrics (about $500 per month)

Having recently had to visit a public hospital maternity ward and a public hospital emergency ward to visit friends, hell would have to freeze over before I delivered in one or put the care of me and my baby in the public health system.

The type of care you choose should be a well researched, very personal decision and for me private was the only way to go.

#4 Moo point

Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:47 AM

It all depends on what hospitals you have access to. Our closest public hospital is a major tertiary teaching hospital, and has a group midwifery practice where you have your own midwife for the entire pregnancy/birth (you need to be low risk, and it is in high demand). If you want an obstetrician of your choice, though, you will have to go private, either at a private hospital or as a private patient in a public hospital if he/she delivers there.

On a side note, we had private health insurance and ensured it covered IVF as I knew we would probably need it - as some of the procedures are done as an inpatient in a private hospital, it saved us loads. We still went public for the birth, but 3 rounds of IVF would have been far more expensive without it. Hopefully you won't need it or don't have any fertility issues but just something to keep in mind.

#5 JillyJellyBean

Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:48 AM

I went private but the costs do blow out. You also need to pay the anaesthatist (spelling?) separately, and if you have an epidural, its expensive ($000's). Also, if you end up with a baby in the NICU or SCN you will have extra costs which you need to make sure your health insurer covers (ours was in SCN and cost insurance company $600 per day).

Different towns/cities have really popular and well liked midwifery programs and I think they may well be worth a try. Alot of people would swear by them. Maybe you could go do a tour or post on EB asking locals in your area about their experiences.

Good luck.

#6 Rolex

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:03 AM

Nothing wrong with the public system where I am.  I agree wth lozoodle, 100%.  I've had 3 births in a public hospital, including one being a very sick newborn, and I've had nothing but sensational care.

Sure, you have to share a room, but really, I can't see the point in spending thousands just for a private room for a few days.  That doesn't bother me.

My son has spent a lot of time in the public childrens hospital, too, with the same surgeon who has never treated me as a second class 'public' citizen, and he's saved my son's life.  He calls me at home when needed, and I can contact him when I need to.  We've also never waited long for surgery, a couple of months at most for the non-urgent ones.  Of course the urgent ones are immediate (he's had surgery at midnight once).

I'm going public with #4 as well.

#7 gadfly271

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:21 AM

I have private health insurance but decided to go public. We had access to a great public hospital, in the same building as the private hospital, same staff, same birthing suites, just different post-birth accommodation and for us it wasn't worth the extra money just to have my own room for a few days.

As it turned out I had complications and was in hospital for a week post birth, and I had my own room anyway! Standard of care was fabulous, food not too bad, epidural provided less than an hour after I asked for it.

The advice from my ob friend was if you have a low-risk or high-risk pregnancy (or are likely to), go public. If you may have a moderate-risk pregnancy, go private if you can afford to. Due to my complications last pregnancy, we will go private if we have another child, but I wouldn't hesitate to go public again if things were different.

I'd recommend you check out your local public hospital. If it's not to your liking, you might have to get private insurance and hold off TTC for 4 months or so to be covered for obstetrics. But make sure you budget several thousand for all the extra costs, like epidurals, extra fees etc. I wouldn't want to get into financial stress with a new baby when there is a perfectly good hospital I can access for free.

Good luck original.gif

#8 PrincessPeach

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:59 AM

I've got private hospital cover & i'm using it!

We've had friends who have just had their second baby at the hospital I'm looking at & their only out of pocket expenses were for the scans, because the Dr is an agreement Dr for their helath fund. So also take this into consideration.

I also want my own room & to be able to have my DH visit me outside visiting hours. Also DH is not exactly a fan of hospitals & the maternity unit is decked out similar to a hotel room - including carpeted floors in the room.

Edited by PrincessPeach, 05 December 2012 - 09:00 AM.


#9 Covert

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:04 AM

I have only ever gone private so I have nothing to compare it to and no knowledge of the public health system other then what I have heard.

We have top health cover with our private health fund and went private with DS.  I loved my OB, I loved all his midwives and I loved the level of care I got from the hospital I went to.  DS was in neonates for 3 days due to jaundice and the medical staff were absolutely lovely and brilliant.

8 months later I had an ectopic pregnancy that my GP failed to identify, I called my OB in tears of confusion and within 36 hours I had my left fallopian tube removed where it was discovered it had started to shred.

4 months later we were still having trouble TTC so my OB who is also a fertility specialist started treating us.

We got a miracle, natural BFP not long after and once again my beautiful OB is taking care of our family again.

It is very expensive as private health cover doesn't quick in until you are in hospital so all your OB fees are out of your pocket which is around $4000 - $5000, whoever I had no hesitation in going private and would recommend to anyone who can afford it to do it.

It really is a personal decision and one where you have to consider your financial standing. However, if you can afford it then I would always go private.

Good luck.

#10 zingy

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:10 AM

I've always had private health insurance and used a private OB. After my experiences I would never and I mean never ever not use a private OB...BUT on the hospital front, with my first I went into labour before 32 weeks so had to have my OB deliver at a public hospital that had a NICU for the bub.

With my 2nd it was a twin pregnancy and I just made it to 34 weeks so I did get to go to the private hospital.

With my 3rd I had moved into state and I had a new private OB and was booked into a private hospital but I didn't check what would happen if I went into labour before 32 weeks. Well, I went into labour at 29 weeks and I was thrown to the wolves! I didn't get to have my private OB and I didn't get to deliver at the private hospital. Trainee OB's did an emergency CS at a public hospital and they 'botched' it. My little man was only here for 5 days.

This time I have changed OB's and made sure that he can still deliver if I go into early labour.

I would definitely go for a private OB but I would actually prefer to deliver at a public hospital that has the high end NICU facilities.

Edited by zingy, 05 December 2012 - 09:13 AM.


#11 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:20 AM

I don't have private health insurance but wouldn't be able to afford the out of pocket costs if I did go private anyway.

Tbh I've heard good and bad reviews of both the public and private hospitals here in Perth but I wouldn't bother going private anyway.

My public hospital experience was good. I am going to hopefully be going to the Birth Centre this time which is public and I'm happy with that level of care.

#12 opethmum

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:27 AM

We are on a single family income and we have private health cover and it has been worth every cent to go private. The private hospital was really close to us and even in close proximity to my DH work. That meant the my DH could go to work and save on his paternity leave and use those valuable days to help me settle into home life when we went home from the hospital.
I have had two great births there and the midwives there recognised me from my first birth and I had the continuity of care. I stayed for 8 days for my second birth and was made to feel comfortable.

#13 Bubble11

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:27 AM

Heaps of good advice here.  It depends on the hospital's near you and the kind of birth you want and if you have a spare 5,000 or so, which is probably what the out of pockets will add up to for a private birth.  As PP's have said if your baby ends up in NICU you may have extra out of pockets - depends on your insurerer.  As for the 12 month thing - you just have to be over that time frame when you give birth, but taking into account bubs could be premmie I'd want to have hospital cover for at least 6 months prior to TTC.  This means if you get UTD straight away bub's will be covered once they're 6 months along and any earlier and your going to end up in a public hospital anyway as all the tertiary hospitals are public.  If you have a very high risk pregnancy you'll end up in the public system, as a PP said if you have a low risk not much advantage besides one on one of OB care over midwife.  Basically public hospital care is midwife based, with high risk patients seeing an OB.  

Some public hospitals have continuity of care (you see the same midwife all through pregnancy), some have birthing centres (same midwife, with natural or water birth if no complications), some have group care (you can have your pregnancy care with same midwife and after your appointment a whole group of pregnant women due at similar time get together for a group session - talk, meet people etc).  All public hospitals that have antenatal care may have one or more of these options but all will have antenatal clinics - where you see whatever midwife is on that day and OB clinics for high risk patients.  

You need to think about type of care you want (do you care about continuity of care? does your local hospital offer it? are you likely to be high risk because of existing medical conditions etc)?  

What type of birth do you want (private OBs and private hospitals have much higher c-section rates)?  

Can you afford it (TTC can take a while, and you need to get insured 6 months prior to TTC so that plus bubs your looking at about 2 years of premiums, plus OB management fees + other out of pockets)?  Or in my case it was yes we could afford it, with a bit of saving up but I had other things I wanted to use the money on, plus I didn't want a high intervention birth which is statistically a lot more likely if you go private.  

Also what are the hospitals near you like?  What care do they offer?  Ask about with friends and on EB etc about the public & private hospitals near you.  And about the OBs in your area.  You might find that people rave about one hospital and not another or that you have to travel quite far for your nearest private hospital.  And what the rooms are like.  The public hospital I'm going to has all private rooms for birth (obviously) and after birth with pull out bed for your OH, there are 2 two bed wards but these are for mums that need high level post birth care.  As it's a tertiary hospital it has a top level NICU, whereas the private hospital has a lower level NICU so if bubs was really sick she'd be transfered to my public hospital which is 20 minutes away and I'd stay post birth in the private hospital.  I like the reassurance of knowing the best equipment and top specialists are right there in the hospital, and I'll be near bubs if anything goes wrong.

#14 SeaPrincess

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:27 AM

I've only gone private, but one of my OBs has delivery rights at the public hospital that I would have gone to in an emergency.  With one of my children we were living in a different state and the 2 hospitals were next door to each other.

With one of my children, I had complications and spent almost a month in hospital over 3 separate admissions, being seen by the same OB the whole time.  When I was admitted the second time, DH was away and my doula took me to hospital.  She was really impressed that the midwife who admitted me had already looked up my previous notes. With another pregnancy,  we were living in a remote location and at the time I delivered there was no OB.  My PHI meant that I could fly home to deliver in the same hospital as for baby #1, rather than flying to a city where we knew no-one for a public delivery.

ETA our family cover doesn't cost anything like $500/month ($6000/year?) it's a bit over half that amount.

Edited by SeaPrincess, 05 December 2012 - 09:32 AM.


#15 Futureself

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:39 AM

OP, there's no 'private is better' or 'public is better' simple answer to your question. It completely depends what hospitals you have available to you. There are some Private hospitals that I wouldn't deliver in and would choose Public and vice versa. I went Private purely because the Private Maternity hospital I had access to is a tertiary level facility which is pretty rare for  Private maternity. Therefore, I was choosing the best possible level of medical facility with the benefits of my own OB plus the  private room and great food that some people scoff at wink.gif

My total eventual out of pocket costs for DS were close to $5000. Fpor example, - thanks to an epidural followed by an emergency caeser my out of pocket for anaethetist alone was $900 but he was awesome. He even did follow up visits while I was in hospital to debrief and check how I was bouncing back post surgery so I don't resent the cost. So Private is not a cheap option, and you can have unexpected costs like anaethetists that you have to be prepared for, it's not just the cost of the OB. But if you aren't comfortable with YOUR designated public hospital then it is worth looking into Private.

And you're right to do it now and know exactly what you want to do BEFORE falling pregnant. I overheard my OB's receptionist having to turn someone away who was trying to book with her as the patient was 'already nearly 6 weeks' and it was too late, my OB was booked out. Their philosophy is, get a positive test, tell your husband and then call the OB to book in on the same day. Possibly even skip the 'tell your husband' part  original.gif


#16 lovepink

Posted 06 December 2012 - 09:52 AM

Our Private Health waiting period ends in Sept 2013 so hopefully we can have a baby born Oct/Nov. I know some people aren't fussed about getting their own room but for me this was important.

#17 Hands Up

Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:53 PM

We upped our private health cover to include obstetrics just before we started TTC. It does take couples on average 6 months to conceive so if you decide to go private change your cover now and you will (most likely) be fine.


#18 Shellby

Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:45 PM

You really need to see what hospitals you would deliver at and what is offered to you.

See here the public hospital only has 3 obs and the same ones you would see private, so why pay private when you would get them anyway. All rooms are private so no sharing with anyone. They have fold out beds for your partner to stay overnight and only has to pay for meals if they want meals from the hospital kitchen. Again you meet the same midwives who will be there to deliver your baby during your appointments - again there is 4 in the birthing suite.

Also there isn't a private hospital, so even if you went private you would still be giving birth in the same room as public and staying in the same rooms - plus using the same doctors - they share between the 3 of them so you get one of the 3 delivering when you choose them, so you don't get to pick the 1. Why would you pay $5000 about out of pocket for this when you get it free.

Now where I had my boys (different town) I did both private and public. Again only the public delivered, so either way you gave birth in the same suites as public and then you transferred to the private hospital after everything was okayed. However when I did public I stayed at that hospital and again got a private room with my own bathroom etc - all free, however dads couldn't stay compared to the public hospital I live near now. My son however was sick and transferred 3 hours away to ICN, again he was next to babies who were private and seeing the same doctor and getting the same care - why because the ICN was only in a public hospital.

Really all I paid for doing it private was making sure I got my early inducement if I wanted it and had nicer meals at the private hospital. I don't really care about seeing the 'same' doctor all the time, or knowing for months the people who are going to be at my birth - it doesn't make me uncomfortable. However I understand some women need that and so going private gives them that. Do know though you will be looking at being out of pocket $2000-$5000 if you choose private.

The best thing to do is make a list on what is important to you - such as private room, Dh staying with you and baby, same doctor all the way through, what if baby is premmie or sick and what special care they can offer etc and then see what public can offer you and then what private will offer. This way you can make an informed choice for YOUR hospitals near you.

#19 Three Of Hearts

Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:53 PM

From a TTC perspective I'm glad we have full private cover.  I had a laparascopy in October and the out of pocket expenses were $600.  If I didn't have private health cover I would have had to pay just under $3000 or go on the public wait list for 12 months.  

And as it turns out we need IVF so I'm now even more grateful for having full private cover.

#20 HappyLife

Posted 06 December 2012 - 09:40 PM

Hmm... Thanks everyone for letting me know your experiences & advice!    

Still haven't decided either way but will be doing some research into our nearby hospital. The closest is a public & private on the same site, so I'm thinking there are likely to be a lot of shared services.

We can afford the private cover, but can think of many other areas where we could use the money instead. I'm not too concerned about a private room or what food I get. DH works not far from the hospital too, which helps him save his Pat. Leave for when it's needed most. I guess I'm leaning towards public, but will find out about the hospital & go from there original.gif
Thanks again!


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