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EB&MB

Cost of Private vs Private in a Public Hospital

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EB&MB

My wife is 6 weeks pregnant. I am looking for advice on what the costs and options are.

 

We live in Hunters Hill, Sydney and have the absolute top Family cover with HCF with Super Extra's, and $0 excess. I assumed that this would cover most of the costs (which is why we have it), but reading some of these threads has left me confused as some people say it didnt cost them much and some say it cost them thousands???

 

We can afford to spend a few thousand, but if we can save the money for when we drop to 1 salary, then we would prefer that. Plus we have been forking out for health insurance for all these years, we want something back now!

 

1) What are the likely costs if we go Private in a Private hospital (I am guessing North Shore Private would be closest and reviews seem good).

 

2) What are the likely costs if we go Private in a Public hospital (RPA, Royal North Shore, Mater???).

 

3) Are there any costs if we go straight public?

 

4) We may need to relocate to Brisbane at around 28-30 weeks, but wont know till close to the time. Any suggestions on how to handle hospital bookings? I have read that Mater in South Brisbane is good. Are we even going to be able to get in or get an OB that late?

 

Feel free to answer 1 or all 4 questions. Thanks in advance.

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EJ75

Hi EB&MB

 

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

 

I would assume that because you have top family cover with no excess that any hospital costs would be covered by HCF. If you decide to have your own Obstrician you would have to pay for that (Medicare cover only a small amount of this - not sure if you can now claim some of it through your insurance). OB's fees vary so you would need to do some homework and find one that has rights to the hospital you wish to have your baby at at a price you can afford.

 

I went private in the public system due to having high risk pregnancies and a prem with my first. We didn't have to pay a cent (even for the special care nursery and hospital transfers for DS). We just paid for our OB separately. Our fund covered everything else.

 

There should be no costs if you go public and through the Midwives Clinic at the hospital. Of course you can still decide to go public and have your own OB (but you would have to pay for that).

 

As for question four - sorry I no idea.

 

I would ring HCF and chat to someone and ask all the questions you have asked here. They would be able to tell you exactly what out of pocket expenses you will have.

 

Best wishes

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nlp1976

Your health insurance will cover allthe costs for the actual hospital room etc (apparently almost $1k per night at Mater and North Shore Private if you don't have insurance.

 

Obs associated with the hospitals would be between $4k to $8k (depending on name, reputation etc) of that you'll get ~$1k back all up (i think). Then your out of pocket money can be claimed on your tyax return - i think 30%, but can't remember right now. Sydney does seem to be the most expensive place for obs.

 

I went through the Mater with Obs associated with them for all 3 births (if you look on their website they list all of their drs under each specialty). I loved the Mater and North Shore is meant to be just as good. Most drs will work at both, but they will have offices at one of the hospitals in particular - i chose the Mater as this was where my obs had his office and shorter distance to run if there is an issue...

 

The main differences that I've seen compared to friend's experiences with public system is the relationship built with the obs, that I believe helps in the birth situation (although through birthing centres this is built with the midwives - general public system doesn't seem to have much continuity with midwives and drs) and also the support after birth (4 nights in the hospital with midwives on call really helped establish feeding etc - many in the public system are home within 24 hours).

 

I'm not sure about Brisbane, but it's probably worth discussing with some of the bookings people at the hospitals both public and private.

 

Congratulations and good luck!

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Coffeegirl

SIL just had her first in Nth Short Private under PHI. I've had both of mine under the public system.

 

I paid $0 had a private room overlooking the city (Sutherland Hospital) great mid=wives etc. I was in hospital for almost 3 weeks including before and after care due to extremely high blood pressure. DD was born in Adelaide and I had almost the exact same scenario.

 

SIL had her first last week. Needed an emergency C-Section. Had a tiny private room with a view of a construction site and the parking lot. Her OB cost her out of pocket about $2500 and she got about $1000 back from medicare.

 

The bills have just started coming in. Anthetist (sp) out of pocket $500 Theatre costs - out of pocket about $500. She hasn't had any others yet... Out of pockets are AFTER her PHI so the 'gap'

 

As to the 30% rebate thing - that only applies after you hit $1500 - then you get 20 cents on the dollar back OVER that amount. So last year I had a heap of dental bills (about $2700) - got $78 back

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fooiesmum

Hi,

 

Congratulations :)

 

Just a quick answer - PHI covers at lot of "inhospital" charges, eg room fees, theatre fees etc.

 

Some Dr's services in hospital may be covered by your PHI - at lot of these charges in the OB/Gyn field are not.

 

You will have to pay for your OB visits plus a pregnancy management fee (rebate though Medicare will be less than $1k), all tests & scans (some may be bulk billed, but don't count on it).

 

You may find that your OB will bill your health fund direct for your delivery fee, mine did - but I had an additional non claimable $700 (in 2008) on top of my delivery fee (plus the pregnancy mgt fee etc)

 

Hope that helps a little :)

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Veritas Vinum Arte

As PP have mentioned PHI covers the hospital end of things (but also only up to the total amount of the medicare scheduled fee - so if the anaethetist charges more you are out of pocket)

 

So your routine appts, scans, bloods etc are covered by medicare up to a point and many get left with a gap to pay. Most OBs charge a PG mgmt fee which can be thousands of dollars, but medicare will only pay $450 odd and the difference no longer counts towards your medicare safety net, so that is where it really hurts. Some also charge a non claimable delivery fee.

 

As PP mentioned in a tax year medical expenses over $1500 attract a rebate of 20%.

 

 

 

 

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Pearson

Hi OP,

 

I am in Brisbane, and can only advise on the hospitals up here. Mater Hospital at south brisbane public is GENERALLY only opened to those on the southside, and Royal Brisbane Womens Hospital is GENERALLY only open to those on the northside.

There are other private hospitals in Brisbane, Sunnybank, which is southside, Wesley, inner southwest, northwest, inner northwest, and Mater @ South Brisbane has a private area as well.

 

RBWH was done up about 8-9 years ago, but still looks really good, comparable to some of the public hospitals, Mater was done up about 18 months ago.

 

Mater does go on "bypass" for maternity in Public quite regularly. You are going to need to call the hospitals though.

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Ruby Gloom

Hi there,

 

With my first pregnancy I was a private patient with my own OB and I had my son in Royal North Shore Public. All I paid for was the little out of pocket expense for my OB. This was when the government refunded a lot of the OBs fees though. I didn't pay for my epidural or the visiting paed attached to my OB.

 

My second pregnancy I had my same OB and was in Royal North Shore Private. My OBs fees were 5.5K and we only got $500 back :o:rant: I had to pay for my epi (was so worth it though! :lol: ) and I also had to pay for the paed. Oh and my son needed an ultrasound and I had to pay for that too. I was able to claim these back on medicare though, but overall it was much more expensive.

 

Having said that, though, I much preferred being in the Private hospital.

 

HTH

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EB&MB

Thanks everyone.

 

Based on what you all said about having to pay for the OB, we rang RNS PUBLIC this afternoon and left a message to book in there. We will likely just do it all public. At least if we get booked in, we can always add our own OB if we change our mind (although I hear it can be hard to book in after 6 weeks).

 

Not quite sure what we will do about the Brisbane side of things yet. We will be up there next week and will likely look around at hospitals and make a booking in Brisbane too. Probably RBWH. I assume that we can have 2 concurrent booking, 1 in each state, and just cancel the one we dont need in November when we are sure of our plans (due 23-March).

 

If anyone has any info about booking in both states, please let me know.

 

Thanks again for sharing your experience with us first timers!

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Guest wyn99

Hi OP

 

I also had full HCF cover but we opted to go public at North Shore Public, through the midwives. I cannot fault their care with all my appts and I also regularly saw an endocrinologist there at my appts due to my thyroid issues. I have since dropped my HCF maternity cover, as I was so impressed with the public system.

 

At 30 weeks we moved to regional NSW, so DS was actually born elsewhere. RNS sent all my records over to the new hospital - I wasn't even booked in as DS came 2 weeks early. I would just call Brisbane and explain your situation. Perhaps you can both do pre-natal parenting classes there? RNS offered a 1 day course, instead of about 5 weeks like others. That way you can book in, learn the processes etc and know where to go when labour starts.

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BronR

I had DS as a private patient at a private hospital (Prince of Wales Private) and DD as a private patient at a public hospital (Royal Hospital for Women Randwick due to her being born at 32 weeks). Same Ob both times so Ob fees were technically the same (actually less for DD as her gestation at birth was less so didn't see him as many times LOL).

 

At the private hospital I paid no excess and no gap for Ob. Paid a hefty anesthetist fee for out of hours epidural then early morning CS though. DH was able to room in with me and was given breakfast at no extra charge (this varies form hospital to hospital). Also got a fairly small bill from a paediatrician. YOu could pick your food the day in advance from the menu etc and it was nice and there was alot.

 

At the public hospital I paid an excess ($300 from memory - they waived half the excess as I agreed to admit DD to SCN as a private patient so the hospital would get big $$ per day from the PHI for the whole time she was there - 6 weeks) and again no gap for Ob. Again paid a (not quite so hefty) anesthetist fee as it was a scheduled CS. No paed bill as DD was admitted at birth to SCN.

 

I would guess (but I could be wrong) if you are a private patient the costs of being in a private or public hospital will not be vastly different assuming same Ob.

 

IMO if you are going with an Ob I would choose the private hospital for an uncomplicated birth. In my experience the hospital stay itself is MUCH nicer. (Food, facilities etc).The room was tatty, the food terrible (I really mean inedible) and you had to walk to the dining room to get it yourself. I changed my sheets myself on day 2 (post CS) as nobody had time to do it even though I'd asked and I was still lying on blue plastic backed paper on top of the sheet!!! Perhaps in my case as I didn't have a baby with me I kind of fell off the radar but really I was still a mother who had undergone surgery and probably shouldn't have been making beds!! They also several times forgot to being me my meds. All in all I guess they were busier maybe??

 

 

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mstamus

I am 6 weeks pregnant and looking for the same answers. I had upgraded our PHI to include obstetrics (18mths ago) thinking it would be worth it, but the info I've found lately makes me think I've been sucked in! I just can't believe after paying thousands every year, I would still have to pay another $3000+ (from what I can gather), all for an OB who probably won't even be there for the birth anyway. Really struggling to comprehend any pluses for going all private at this point in time (thanks Rudd gov!). Think I'll cut my losses and go public as the hospital near me has a good reputation anyway.

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Kitteh

I was approx $3k out of pocket with my DS at the Mater Hospital last year, and then spent another $2-3k on associated expenses - assisting surgeon, anaesthetist, paed, blood tests, ultrasounds etc.

 

With the changes in the safety net, this would increase by another $2k this year.

 

I did a ring around and most obs with the Mater or North Shore private charge approximately the same amount.

 

The obs at the SAN charge a little less - and I will probably book in there next time. I'm budgeting for approx $3-4k out of pocket in total. Much more reasonable :)

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josephmyluv

If you are coming to Brisbane depending on where you will be living the Redlands maturnity is unreal .everyone gets a private room and they are nice a modern so you would only be paying for your OB .The Matar Mothers is almost new and beautiful there services are unreal too .I found the Royle abit blan and deepressing so thankfuly i ended up in the private side in the end but the Redlands is a lovely hospital for having a baby

 

Also just to clear things up in the public system the gov allows 3 nights stay for every mother and child you only leave earlie if you want too .Those that do leave early there number of nights left then get left so if mum and bub need more time in hospital they can have it .They will not kick you out if you are not ready

 

good luck with the choices

 

 

 

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josephmyluv

i should add i have had 6 and am on bubba 7 i have also done both private and public and would go public again in a heart beat

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snowclaws

I'm a little controversial in my views - I believe in public hospitals!

 

My DH is medically trained and has seen far too many pregnant women transferred from private to public hospitals in the final stages of labour due to complications and private hospitals being unable to cope. A public hospital has all the medical team you need on staff- anaethetist, surgeon, paeds. A private hospital needs to call them in.

 

the way I saw it, I could better use that money, especially as I have many friends and colleagues who were thousands out of pocket and in some cases the midwives did all the work and the obs didn't even make it to the birth! (doesn't stop them sending you a bill though).

 

If there are any complications during or after birth (caeser, bubs needs hip brace etc) a public hospital is free. You pay if you go private.

 

There is a place for private and some people want that. But there are other options.

 

Personally I do "shared care" - we have a fabulous family GP with a diploma in obstetrics. I see her for all of my appointments and a few at the hospital. My GP has seen the whole family for years and will see her for years to come. I don't view pregnancy as an "event" but part of my medical history, so I want someone that knows me, and knows my family in my entire medical context.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide :)

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jojoandannie

I was 5 wks and living in Melb when my husband got a job offer. So at about 15 wks we moved to Syd. I had been seeing an Ob in Melb prior to falling pregnant. As soon as I found out about the move I booked an Ob in Sydney (not even knowing where we would be living). I am also planning on returning to Melb to have the baby - I think??? So I am booked into private hospital in Melb with Melb Ob, am also booked into Syd public hosiptal in case something goes wrong and have baby early (to go private in Syd was $250 booking fee, which is non-refundable if you cancel - thus the public booking, as no cost if I cancel.) I am paying the Syd Ob the pregnancy management fee, and have all appointments in Syd. Melb Ob wants me back by 38wks, so will then transfer and see him. Will pay him delivery fees.

 

So basically - I would have a booking in both states and just cancel the one you don't use. Check to see if they have charges when you cancel. Private in Melb doesn't charge if you cancel, whereas Syd does!!! (check each hospital though in each state)

 

If you want to choose your own Ob, in many cases you have to book in very early.

 

Hope that helps!

 

 

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Podlettte

Hi everyone,

 

First post here for me.

 

This is just the discussion I've been having with DH tonight. I'm 6 1/2 weeks pregnant with our first and although we have top private health cover we're not convinced it's the right way to go for us. and my GP has adivsed she'll be happy so long as it's not a birthing centre for our first due to my age (38).

 

Westmead and Blacktown hospitals are our closest, so we'll be off to check it all out, once we've figured out how to contact the hospitals for these tours we have heard about!

 

 

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lclb

I am 6 weeks pregnant and have just rebooked my OB who works out of the Mater in Sydney. I have been told the total OB cost is $6500, and will likely only get $2000 back from medicare.

 

Given I am doing this privately I will also have to pay for my Ultrasounds, at least $200 per time.

 

I am in a high risk category so will likely have another C-section which will incur fees for the assistant surgeon and the anathesiologist.

 

They also have a private paedatrician consult after the birth who requires payment.

 

If my child requires special care (as the last one did) i have to pay for the peadiatrican consults, any blood tests or xrays for the baby too.

 

My private health insurance will cover my stay at the Mater in a lovely room but that is about it!

 

We had better start saving now! Good luck with your decision!

 

 

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than4

Sorry to sound naive but can someone please explain to me what being a private patient in a public hospital means?

 

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Podlettte

My (limited) understanding from a conversation with the ante natal clinic at westmead today is that your private obstetrician attends you (so long as they are available and no on holidays etc etc) and you may or may not get a private room, that depends on the availability of a private room which varies from hospital to hospital.

 

I'm not sure what else it offers, as i didn't ask.

 

Discovered because we're not in the parramatta local govt area if we go public we'll have to go to blacktown public hospital.

 

Off to suss that out tomorrow!

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