Starting a family requires careful planning in advance. Understanding what pregnancy care needs you should prepare for and how you can afford them will be important in ensuring you and your new family have access to all critical medical treatments and services before, during and after pregnancy.
Solely relying on Medicare would lead pregnancy to cost around anywhere between $9,000 to $30,000 whereas private insurance coverage will bring the range down to $2,500 – $20,000. Every pregnancy is different and you may need additional services.
What’s covered by Medicare vs. private health fund
Private health funds will cover most of the services offered by Medicare with an added benefit of allowing you more options and flexibility. Most doctor visits and in-hospital treatments will be covered by private health insurance plans. You’d be able to choose the hospital where you’d stay in before and after labour. The cost of these prenatal consultations with obstetricians or gynecologists of your choice will be covered by both Medicare and your private health fund. Medicare will cover 75% of what would’ve been the cost at a public hospital. Your private health fund will cover the remaining 25% of the cost if received at a public hospital. Any additional charges beyond that will be borne by you. Special needs such as IVF or other assisted reproductive services can also be accommodated by private hospital covers.
The only thing that wouldn’t be covered by the private health covers is the additional outpatient tests such as ultrasounds. These can be provided at affordable rates via Medicare at public birthing centres.
Additional benefits such as birthing classes and lactation consultation are offered by some health insurance providers through the extras covers. Extras covers can also include non-PBS drugs and other services that may be of value to new mums. See here for possible care needs during your pregnancy. Holding private hospital and extras covers will help reduce the out-of-pocket costs related to your pregnancy and birth and also enable you to get access to the best care services available.
It is highly recommended that you insure your baby before birth so he/she can access all necessary medical checkups or procedures if urgently needed. Some providers allow you to transition from a couples plan to a family plan with some waiting periods waived or add a dependent at no extra cost. You should select a health insurance policy which offers the best coverage for you, your partner, and your unborn child at least 12 months before to ensure a sufficient level of coverage for the entire family.
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