We are getting an increasing number of calls from uninsured women asking how much it will cost to have their babies as private patients. Making Pregnancy Appointments and PlanningThis was expected. More people are dropping out of health funds or not taking up health insurance because of increasing financial household strain with increasing interest rates. As well pregnancy care is in the top tier (most expensive) of health fund cover.

There are bills from several sources when you have a baby privately and so it can be very confusing when trying to financially plan for your pregnancy care.

While we can’t tell you what the bottom line is for you, we can help give you an idea. Please phone my office and chat with my secretary or book a ‘meet and greet’ appointment so you can get more information.

If you are not in a fund, it will be more expensive than if you are, as health funds pay your hospital bill (minor your excess) and contribute to in hospital doctors’ bills.

Doctors are self-employed. That mean what you will be charged will vary according to which doctor provides the service. My secretary can tell that we charge but not what other obstetricians charge. Be aware obstetricians vary in their charges and bill patient system so what my secretary says about our charges will not be valid for another obstetrician.

For us there will only be gaps to pay for your initial consultation and management fee. You will not pay more for these if you are not insured as health fund don’t contribute to these costs. There will be nothing extra to pay and no other out-of-pocket charges from us irrespective of how complicated your pregnancy and /or delivery is, how many antenatal visits you have, etc. We don’t charge you for in-office ultrasound scans that I do. Indeed, we give you free a USB to store the images and video clips.

For your delivery if you are in a fund, we take whatever the fund and Medicare give us without there being any out-of-pocket charge to you. The amount we receive for your delivery varies considerably from one health fund to another, as some funds are far more generous in how much they pay than others. If you are not in fund, you will have to prepay your delivery fee.

We expect you to be bulk billed for all pathology except the NIPT. The NIPT does not have a Medicare item number and so this will be out-of-pocket expense, if you elect to have the check done.

We prefer external ultrasound scans to be done by a specialist pregnancy ultrasound unit because of better training in pregnancy scans and so more accuracy. Some patients elect to go to a bulk billing or lesser gap general radiology practice. The scans will be free or less expensive, but the trade-off is possibly less accuracy and so the chance of missing detecting a significant abnormality of your baby. I am not qualified to do these detailed checks to don’t decide I can always find a foetal abnormality. While I have done so, my office scans are more general e.g., checking baby’s growth, heart rate, liquor volume.

You may need to see another specialist in pregnancy e.g., if you develop gestational diabetes. There will be a Medicare rebate for the consultation and out-of-pocket expense, but no contribution from your health fund.

Most paediatricians charge similar. Anaesthetists vary considerably.

If you are planning on an elective Caesarean section at Norwest Private Hospital my secretary can give the contact details of our regular anaesthetist. You can contact that anaesthetist’s secretary and find out how much you will be invoiced. She also gives you the contact details of one of the paediatricians so you can contact that paediatrician’s secretary and find out have much that paediatrician charges.

If you want an epidural in labour or must go to theatre for an emergency Caesarean section, then the anaesthetist who attends will be the one rostered on. It is not possible you give those details or for you to know those charges in advance. If you have an epidural in labour and end up with an emergency Caesarean section with another anaesthetist, then you can expect to get two anaesthetists bills.

If you are in a fund then your fund will pay the hospital costs, except for your excess (if any).

If you are not in fund you will need to prepay the possible stay costs. The hospital will tend to overcharge you in advance, rather than having to chase money after you are discharged. They will give you a refund if they have overbilled you.  Norwest Private Hospital has 2 night and 5 nights stay packages, which have been very popular for uninsured patient. Check this out with my secretary. Sometimes unexpected events can happen (e.g., baby needs to be admitted to the SCBU or you need to be admitted to ICU) and extra bills will come in which are not covered by these packages. So have buffer in case you have extra unexpected expenses.

Below is table which summaries the most likely source of bills and which ones Medicare and your fund contribute to and which ones you will have an out-of-pocket charge to pay.

Table explaining what is covered by your Health Fund in Pregnancy

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  • Monday all day 9.00am to 4.30pm
  • Tuesday all day 9.00am to 4.30pm
  • Wednesday all day 9.00am to 4.30pm
  • Thursday morning 9.00am to 12.30pm
  • Thursday alternate afternoons 2.00pm to 4.30pm
  • Friday alternate mornings 9.00am to 1.00pm
  • Friday afternoon 2.00pm to 4.30pm
  • Saturday mornings 9.30am to 12.00 midday*

*Saturday morning appointments are not available for initial antenatal visit.