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Why isn't homebirth free rant


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#1 mumof2babies

Posted 11 March 2012 - 07:36 PM

I am having my 4th child this year. My first was an 'emergency' caesar at a private hospital. My 2nd was with a private midwife (approx $4000) because I saw no other option if I'd wanted a VBAC. My 3rd was with the same midwife ($4000) because I'd had GD with the 2nd and knew I'd be bullied in the public hospital system. Now it's time for me to have the 4th and I would have a homebirth in a heartbeat if it was free, but it's not! Adding up the costs of just the birth for 3 children is giving me a heart attack, and the worst thing is that my first private hospital experience (unpleasant and unnecessary caesar) was the cheapest of them all ($2000 out of pocket).

Now I think midwives deserve all that they earn and more, I wouldn't grudge them their proper pay. But why does my caesar happy obstetrician get paid quadruple that amount and my medical insurance covers it? Urgh. So unhappy that in the end it all comes down to the finances. To top it off when I was at the local public hospital to check it out, and talked to the obstetrician, he said that a hospital birth is exactly the same as a homebirth just with emergency care nearby!!! So angry. How would he know? Had he ever had a homebirth or even been to one? If he had, then he would realise that it is completely different. Completely!

I've been paying taxes, and it really pains me that the local public hospital is free, and the midwife is not.

#2 michie0moo

Posted 11 March 2012 - 07:49 PM

Sorry, wandered in here so don't really belong, but your out of pocket expenses would probably be about the same as your out of pocket for your IM if you went private now. Going public is free, and I think there are public funded homebirth units in some places, but a homebirth with a private midwife, is like going private IMO.

I agree that though that public hospital (even in the birthing units - where you must be low risk) is not the same as a homebirth, and that the criteria they use for determining low risk is very conservative.

#3 agnodice

Posted 11 March 2012 - 07:57 PM

I totally get your vent, I am not a homebirth supporter per say but I do think that midwives are professionals just like Obs and should get Medicare rebates. But as an aside, how long ago was your hospital birth? You'd be hard pressed to find many Obs who only charge $2k out of pocket these days!

#4 new~mum~reenie

Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:12 PM

There are a few private health insurers that cover private midwifery.

I had a list of them on the PC, which is on the fritz, but one of them was Australian unity. As with most pregnancy related coverage, you need to be with them for 12 months or more.

Ask your private insurer why they DON'T cover private midwives. The only way the system will change is with consumer herrasment.

I was told by a girl at the desk of HBF that it was illegal to cover midwives, then I listed the 5 or more that do cover it and said I don't think that many companies are breaking the law. She had no clue. Their offices still haven't answered my emails. But if enough people complain/ask/demand, they have to look at it.

#5 ~Sorceress~

Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:21 PM

I'm so sorry sad.gif . I had three wonderful homebirths, then switched to the public birth centre purely for financial reasons sad.gif .  I am grateful to have been able to access the birth centre, but think we should have the UK system where women have the *right* to a publicly funded homebirth!

#6 Lilymoon

Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:23 PM

I thought it was the cost of insurance that is to blame for the high cost of home births?

Pls correct me if I am wrong, I am not a supporter but I understand that people should have the right to choose. Also I don't think you should attack private OB's as they are not all anti natural birth.

#7 deejie

Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:33 PM

QUOTE (Lilymoon @ 11/03/2012, 09:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Also I don't think you should attack private OB's as they are not all anti natural birth.


She wasn't attacking all private OBs. The OP was angry that a particular OB said that a hospital birth is the SAME as a home birth with emergency care nearby. Anyone who has had both knows that this is just not the case.

OP I understand your rant completely. My homebirth recently cost $4000 and in my opinion my midwife was absolutely worth every cent BUT it is frustrating that there is such limited cover for insurance and medicare. There are some midwives around that you can get Medicare rebates for some aspects of your care and some public hospitals around have started homebirth programs which are free. However if you are like me and fall outside the catchment for these programs, your only feasible option for a true IM is to pay up sad.gif

One of the reasons public homebirth programs are being run is that they actually do save the government money. Having a baby at home is cheaper for the government than having a baby in hospital. It is a shame that those of us choosing to homebirth but do not fall in to the catchment of these programs don't receive any subsidies.

#8 Benevolence

Posted 11 March 2012 - 09:53 PM

I know this is not what you want to hear but I had a homebirth in Perth and it was completely free original.gif

#9 Guest_Hoggle_*

Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:08 PM

I would have loved to have a homebirth with my last baby but unfortunately I couldn't because of the cost either.

But I am lucky enough to have a wonderful public hospital nearby where I was able to have intervention free waterbirths but I would have loved to have been able to experience the homebirth.

#10 Guest_bottle~rocket_*

Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:25 PM

Why is publicly funded HB only available to a very tiny proportion of women? Politics.
The obstetricians in this country are opposed to HB and their influence dominates.
Women's right to choose where they give birth is not respected.

In the last few years OBs have been lobbying hard to ensure that homebirth with an independent midwife is illegal, so even if you can afford it, it may soon not be an option.

#11 mewsings

Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:01 PM

QUOTE (Benevolence @ 11/03/2012, 07:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I know this is not what you want to hear but I had a homebirth in Perth and it was completely free original.gif



I've had two in Perth -  can't speak highly enough of the CMP.

OP - I feel for you.  Is there any chance your midwife can enter a shared care arrangement via the hospital ?  I'm not even sure if that brings the costs down for you.



#12 fordmum

Posted 02 April 2012 - 11:55 AM

QUOTE (mumof2babies @ 11/03/2012, 07:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am having my 4th child this year. My first was an 'emergency' caesar at a private hospital. My 2nd was with a private midwife (approx $4000) because I saw no other option if I'd wanted a VBAC. My 3rd was with the same midwife ($4000) because I'd had GD with the 2nd and knew I'd be bullied in the public hospital system. Now it's time for me to have the 4th and I would have a homebirth in a heartbeat if it was free, but it's not! Adding up the costs of just the birth for 3 children is giving me a heart attack, and the worst thing is that my first private hospital experience (unpleasant and unnecessary caesar) was the cheapest of them all ($2000 out of pocket).

Now I think midwives deserve all that they earn and more, I wouldn't grudge them their proper pay. But why does my caesar happy obstetrician get paid quadruple that amount and my medical insurance covers it? Urgh. So unhappy that in the end it all comes down to the finances. To top it off when I was at the local public hospital to check it out, and talked to the obstetrician, he said that a hospital birth is exactly the same as a homebirth just with emergency care nearby!!! So angry. How would he know? Had he ever had a homebirth or even been to one? If he had, then he would realise that it is completely different. Completely!


You are right. Your caesar happy obstetrician would have no idea about homebirth and most would argue that they are not safer.  But there are more deaths in hospitals than homebirths.  More to the point it is about the journey and the journey for mother and baby is supposed to be a beautiful one.

Homebirth is less stressful and is at yours and the baby's pace. You can have whoever you want at home during the labour including any other children, parents, parents-in-law and/or doula - the choice is yours.

As for a homebirth not being free - no it is not but it is claimable on tax (it comes under T9 - Tax offsets - 20% tax offset on medical expenses over the threshold amount.  And just so you know this also goes for all those medicines that are not covered by the PBS or are above the PBS amount.  So do not forget to keep records of all receipts (in a kraft envelope and add it up on the outside of the envelope) for things like paracetamol, ibuprofen, cough mixtures, lozenges, vitamins, specialist appointments, ointments, sunscreen (required to prevent skin cancer), spectacles, dentist, etc. Anything that is medical related can be claimed on your tax return.  You will not get everything back but anything over the amount for a single/family is returned to you at ??20c/50c in the dollar (something like that).

I hope you make the choice you want as it is your journey and you have to be happy with your decision.  Good luck.

#13 smelliecat

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:53 AM

It's free in Darwin too.

#14 smelliecat

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:55 AM

It's free in Darwin too.




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