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Having a baby in Canberra – is private really better?

By Hazel - 15 August 2015 10

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I’m pregnant and would appreciate advice on whether to go private or public for antenatal care and delivery in Canberra.

I have an existing medical condition so I would definitely request a caesarean. Would this be guaranteed in a public hospital? Could I choose this from the first trimester and would an obstetrician be available on my due date?

I did some research and I was not expecting the high out-of-pocket expenses associated with going private, despite having private health insurance.

I would appreciate if anyone with recent experience could give me an idea of how much I would be out of pocket.

I know that I would have to pay for all the visits at the gynaecologist, the ultrasounds/tests, the standard antenatal fee of about $3000, any gap for delivery, the anaesthetist on the day, a paediatrician and nursery fees if the baby requires it.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

What’s Your opinion?


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10 Responses to
Having a baby in Canberra – is private really better?
wildturkeycanoe 7:26 am 18 Aug 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

I meant that someone else having a ceasar was taking staff away as priority. A sign that their triage system works correctly.

wildturkeycanoe 7:23 am 18 Aug 15

Do not worry about the public system. We had all 3 of our kids at Calvary Belconnen and each time was great. Twice got own private room, but latex allergy was main reason. Twice also had bub stay for up to a week in neo natal/icu. Lack of nursing and midwife staff meant we had many hours of no assistance and went solo through the process but a ceasar was the main reason and we understood that others needed help more urgently.
The only time we jave found hospital issues(Canberra Hspital) was when baby was older. Total lack of concern for infant >6mths old with gastro and no fluid intake for 24 hrs. The doc just said give warm H2O instead of milk. It took 8 hours of waiting to get this doctor’s advice a nurse should have given at reception. Needless to say we avoid that facility at all cost.

gbates 9:37 pm 17 Aug 15

Maya123 said :

Two people with the same income. One pays for private insurance, the other doesn’t. Why should one be forced to claim on their private health insurance and then have to pay excess on top of that, possibly thousands extra for some procedures, while the other pays nothing? They are both paying tax.

If the other is paying nothing then both the individuals are below the Medicare Levy Surcharge Threshold and the private insurance customer is claiming the highest rate of the Private Health Insurance Rebate. Last year that rebate cost $5.9 billion, whereas Medicare benefits cost $20.3 billion. I know where I’d like to see that rebate money spent.

Emily Morris 8:06 pm 17 Aug 15

I had my son (3rd baby) at the new women and children’s hospital at Woden in 2013. As I had an emergency Csection with my daughter 14 months earlier they suggested I had another c-section. It was ultimately my choice but I’m all for taking the experts advice on this stuff. The care couldn’t be faulted and as there were some complications nearing the date I was under fairly rigorous care. I think midwives and nurses do an amazing job under tough and usually short staffed circumstances. I ended up with a healthy baby boy and no bill. And, I think the public hospital is generally better equipped to deal with an emergency should one arise (I don’t know that for a fact though). Whatever your choice, I hope it goes well.

JC 5:09 pm 17 Aug 15

watto23 said :

There is this stupid idea that forcing people to take out private health insurance means they’ll use the private health system, but when you owe thousand or even tens of thousands afterwards, why should you use it? Being able to afford private health insurance and being able to afford to use private health insurance are two very different things.

What surprised me most when I had surgery under private insurance was how little the insurer actually paid. In my case Medicare paid roughly 50% of the cost, I paid about 30% and the insurer 20%. The only advantage for me was getting it done sooner rather than join the queue.

Getting back OT, my wife has had two babies in the Canberra public system in the past few years, no issues what so ever, well at Canberra hospital anyway. The care was good, she too had risk factors, which is how we got into Canberra over Calvary and really couldn’t have asked for me. Personally cannot see why one would pay more to go private.

watto23 2:20 pm 17 Aug 15

Maya123 said :

HenryBG said :

Public is safer, although seeing as you have private health insurance, the public system should charge your insurer for the fulls cost of any procedure or attention you receive.

The whole concept of having people pay for private health insurance and then choose to avail themselves of free publicly-funded healthcare rather than making a claim on their insurance is one of the most broken systems in our society at the moment.

“The whole concept of having people pay for private health insurance and then choose to avail themselves of free publicly-funded healthcare rather than making a claim on their insurance is one of the most broken systems in our society at the moment.”

Why??

Two people with the same income. One pays for private insurance, the other doesn’t. Why should one be forced to claim on their private health insurance and then have to pay excess on top of that, possibly thousands extra for some procedures, while the other pays nothing? They are both paying tax.

I agree the system is broken. The fact I’m forced to have private health insurance (or pay higher medicare levy) but can’t afford to claim on it due to out of pocket expenses means the system is broken. I claim optical only and have in the past also claimed physio. Then I broke a shoulder (well I didn’t know it was broken at the time) and because I presented to a GP on the Monday rather than go clog up the hospital on a weekend, I ended up basically in the private system. I did have a choice to go public for surgery but then when you are told broken shoulder for 6-12 months or operate in a few weeks time, I went private. It was only then I realised ho much it was actually going to cost me.

So now or in the future I’ll just keep clogging up the public system.

There is this stupid idea that forcing people to take out private health insurance means they’ll use the private health system, but when you owe thousand or even tens of thousands afterwards, why should you use it? Being able to afford private health insurance and being able to afford to use private health insurance are two very different things.

Maya123 4:59 pm 16 Aug 15

HenryBG said :

Public is safer, although seeing as you have private health insurance, the public system should charge your insurer for the fulls cost of any procedure or attention you receive.

The whole concept of having people pay for private health insurance and then choose to avail themselves of free publicly-funded healthcare rather than making a claim on their insurance is one of the most broken systems in our society at the moment.

“The whole concept of having people pay for private health insurance and then choose to avail themselves of free publicly-funded healthcare rather than making a claim on their insurance is one of the most broken systems in our society at the moment.”

Why??

Two people with the same income. One pays for private insurance, the other doesn’t. Why should one be forced to claim on their private health insurance and then have to pay excess on top of that, possibly thousands extra for some procedures, while the other pays nothing? They are both paying tax.

drbing 10:33 pm 15 Aug 15

HenryBG said :

Public is safer, although seeing as you have private health insurance, the public system should charge your insurer for the fulls cost of any procedure or attention you receive.

The whole concept of having people pay for private health insurance and then choose to avail themselves of free publicly-funded healthcare rather than making a claim on their insurance is one of the most broken systems in our society at the moment.

drbing 10:32 pm 15 Aug 15

In the public system there are no guarantees. (Indeed there aren’t absolute guarantees in private either but it’s closer.) if you’ve got a good medical reason for needing a section then good judgement should prevail in either system. Having assisted at sections (in another city) as an intern (10 months out of med school) with the registrar (2 years out of med school) at midnight, I wouldn’t go near the public system anywhere, but that’s me.

HenryBG 8:49 am 15 Aug 15

Public is safer, although seeing as you have private health insurance, the public system should charge your insurer for the fulls cost of any procedure or attention you receive.

The whole concept of having people pay for private health insurance and then choose to avail themselves of free publicly-funded healthcare rather than making a claim on their insurance is one of the most broken systems in our society at the moment.

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