Giving birth in Australie / health insurance and costs

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Giving birth in Australie / health insurance and costs

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Old 07-29-2009, 11:21 AM
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Giving birth in Australie / health insurance and costs

Hi all,

Me and my family (wife and daughter) will move to Australia in September. We have done a lot of research on health insurance in Australia because we are expecting our second child in January. As soon as we set foot in Australia we will have to start making the arrangements. The health system is very different from what we have in The Netherlands, but what we found out is:

- We can enroll in Medicare, the public health system, from the start (based on our permanent residence visa). This means we are covered for treatment in a public hospital.
- Private health insurances have a 12 month waiting period for coverage of birth related costs.

What we are wondering if any of you know of a private health insurance without the restrictions on pregnancy-coverage?

And can anyone tell me what costs are involved when giving birth in a private hospital without insurance?

Thanks in advance,

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Old 07-30-2009, 05:25 AM
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Welcome to the forum Roelant and good to hear you and the family are emigrating shortly.

I'm not familiar with what the Netherlands have but Oz system is relatively straightforward, a case of basic Medicare system that people pay a % of salary as a levy, a health tax if you like and then people can elect to take out Private insurance - many different levels and companies and they get a governmemt rebate applied on their permium.

Medicare pays a rebate for any visits to GPs and specialists, but you still pay some ammount which you may be able to claim with a private fund depending on level you are paying for.
Some GPs [but not too many] do what is called bulk billing, instead of charging patients they just bill Medicare direct but only for ammount that Medicare set [the ammount you as apatient would be rebated].

But back to your question on what a birth in a private hospital would cost?
Quite a few thousand $$$$ I'd expect and of course it'd depend on how many days your wife stayed in the hospital for and of course if there were any complications or it was going to be a Ceasar birth.

Hopefully with your wife already having had one delivery, the second may be easier [often the case with some women].

I have a limited private cover, the type that covers me for minor surgery items done by day surgery [no overnight stay] and any death threatening cases; and a few years back [ about 5-6] I had some leg surgery that was scheduled to be just day but then surgeon on morning of OP suggested he would like me to stay in overnight for observation.

I said and how much will that cost - $1300 for lying in a bed!
I said no thanks, I'll be able to survive just as well at home and did though they kept me in a day observation room for a few hours.

But say that cost per night has risen to $2000/n and you wife stayed in for two nights, that'd be $4000 and then doctors and other costs on top, you could be looking at close to $10,000 for just a normal delivery.
It could depend on the particular hospital as well, what city etc. and even the doctor as to what course of checks etc. he/she wants done.

I have a friend who not long back had her second child and I'll ask whether she was in a private hospital or not and see if I can get a closer figure.

Meanwhile our public hospitals are not all that bad.

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Old 07-30-2009, 09:09 AM
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Hi Wanderer,

Thanks for your reply. I contacted Medicare and two private health insurance companies (Medibank and HBC) for information. The things I now know are:

- With the 175 permanent residence visa you can enroll in both Medicare and private insurance right away.
- Medicare will refund the complete birth and aftercare in a public hospital
- Private health insurances (almost) always have a 12 month waiting period for obstetrics
I have put the 'almost' in brackets because there should be insurances without the waiting period but I haven't been able to find them.

Thank you for your (unfortunate) leg example, it shows me just what the difference with the healthcare system is with what I am used

And most importantly, it's good to know that the public hospitals are not that bad. I have no doubt that the standard for healthcare is high in Australia

It will be our second child so we know what to expect (a bit). I would really like to know what the experiences of your friend on this part were. Whether she gave birth in a private or public hospital and what her experiences were for that.

I have contacted the government site about private health insurance with some additional cost information. If I receive a reply I will post it here. I hope the costs will be lower than your expectation, although I think they're close to the truth

Additionally, I have asked Medibank and our current insurance company in The Netherlands if there is some way to extend our Dutch insurance abroad.

Thanks again!


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Old 07-30-2009, 02:58 PM
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hi there
I'm curious if I can get insurance in Medicare for me and my family(husband and little son) if I have 475 visa(temporary for 3 years)?
thanks beforehand

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Old 07-31-2009, 01:50 AM
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Unfortunately not I think Green Apple for I'm pretty sure that Thailand does not have reciprocal rights with Australia - Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 475)

And Roelant, one the smaller funds but a reasonable one - Health Insurance, Private Health Cover, Home & Contents Insurance, Private Health Insurance - Australian Unity you may want to try but I think you'll find that most private funds will have that pre-existing condition exclusion and waiting time.

What you may also be able to do if you find a good obstetrician is to have him/her be your attending birth doctor at a public hospital, pretty sure that kind of thing still occurs for many specialists who have private practices also do work at public hospitals or they used to anyway.

That way, the hospital charges would be met by medicare and there may even be an arrangement whereby you can pay something extra to have a private room rather than be in a shared one [not for the delivery of course for that happens in special delivery rooms as far as I know] and then the doctor would charge you and you could get some rebate from medicare.

And I would not know whether travellers insurance covered a pregnancy but no harm in asking!

Last edited by Wanderer; 08-01-2009 at 05:02 AM.

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Old 07-31-2009, 03:12 AM
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Hi Roelant,

Are you going to Melbourne by any chance?

I have had experiences at St.Vincents--emergency and been there for other people's surgery/recovery and I have to say they are excellent by all accounts. I was in emergency for somethng really stupid and was treated with SUCH kindness and understanding. They even gave me a nice hot blanket in the waiting room because i was freezing and while it took ages for me to get through (i wasn't an urgent case) i was very well attended to. Friends of mine have had major surgery there and he was immediatly provided with experts to deal with his case--all paid for by medicare. My visit was free under medibank.

Now i know that is cetainly not giving birth, but, given their policy of care, I would assume you would be very well treated there.

Look up the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne too--it is a public hospital and "Australia’s largest specialist hospital dedicated to improving the health of all women and newborn babies." check out: About Us

I did some Public Relatons research into some melbourne public hospitals during the course of my degree, and I can tell you, they're good.

Is it a private room you are worried about? Maybe try and get in touch with a public hospital and see if there is a fee you can pay toget not sure how it all works, i have never had a child before! =)

Good luck and congratulations on your up-coming second born! =)

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Old 07-31-2009, 09:24 AM
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Thanks for your kind reply Elkitten, it certainly helps to boost the confidence! We will certainly go to the information evenings of the nearby public hospitals to see what's possible. It's not that we are especially worried about a private room, we'll just have to go and see how everything is :-) We will probably go to Sydney, although we are still in doubt (rent pricing!).

@Wanderer and everyone who is interested; I have checked the local insurance (including expatriate cover) as well as travel insurances but they don't cover obstetrics. Me (and more importantly my wife) is ok with everything that is possible and we know we have examined all options. We'll 'go public'

@Green Apple, you can't enroll in Medicare but you could check your local insurance to see if they have an expatriate cover. Mine did (to my suprise).

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Old 07-31-2009, 09:26 AM
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By the way, I got some replies on my emails to different governmental institutions and the price indication for $2000 per bed per night is the basic (no complications) rate nowadays

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Old 08-01-2009, 01:56 AM
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No worries Roelant,

I found this page for you so you can start some sydney public hospital research, not sure if its a full list and maybe you have seen it before, but anyhoo, just wanted to be helpful =)

Sydney Hospitals - Public : Sydney, NSW, Australia

Rent market is pretty bad in melbourne too from what I hear too. Good luck to you and your family in the land down under, wherever you end up =)

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Old 08-01-2009, 05:10 AM
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" Rent market is pretty bad in melbourne too from what I hear too. Good luck to you and your family in the land down under, wherever you end up =) "

However bad it may be in Melbourne it's likely to be even worse in Sydney I'd reckon and that'll be re purchasing too.

If type of work you'll be looking for Roelant allows you to consider a regional city, I'd certainly be doing that for cheaper everything, less of life's time wasted commuting, cleaner air and generally a far more relaxing and enjoyable way to live.

You obviously will usually have less in the way of dining/entertainment available in a regional city compared to a Capital but with a young family that'll hardly to be the fore of your mind and with what you save, you can always have some Capital city trips.

But coming from a region where weather can be drizzly, damp and cool, beach regional cities of east coast will have you thinking you're in paradise.

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