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Comparing Hospital Births With Private vs. Public Health Insurance

There’s no moment more exciting than welcoming a newborn into the world. However, that excitement comes with a cloud of worries over everything from being sure that you bought the right stroller to the peace of mind of knowing you live in a good school zone. For pregnant women and their partners, there’s also the worry about the medical bills associated with prenatal care and bringing your child into this world. However, there’s a difference between having Medicare and Medicaid coverage, as opposed to private health insurance in your back pocket.

Pregnancy cover lets you choose your OB/GYN.


While Medicare and public health coverage afford people the opportunity to give birth within the state-run system, it does not afford the choice of where an expecting mother delivers the child or goes for prenatal care. Those across Australia who can afford a private health insurance pregnancy are able to choose their own obstetrician and have chosen medical professionals to provide support throughout the entire pregnancy. Within the public system, the gynecologist you see is based on who is available at the time of your appointment, which means you may not be able to build a consistent relationship with one OB/GYN.

In some cases, Australians turn to a midwife, not an OB/GYN, through the pregnancy. Many parents who go private also like the ability to have a quick ultrasound of their infant when they get a consultation with an obstetrician. Little touches like this afford some peace of mind from prenatal care to delivery. In the public system, aside from a 12-week and 20-week scan, you may not get regular scans as part of the routine unless there are medical issues. This is not a question of quality professional care; rather, private health insurance is more about a comfort factor.

Access to Potentially Better Accommodation and Facilities


For some pregnant women, private coverage is considered a worthy investment in knowing the medical care and accommodations you’re getting. Private health insurance offers the opportunity to access hospitals by choice, which could be based on a hospital’s reputation for women’s health or specialty newborn care. In the public system, you may be required to share pregnancy wards with others, which could impact your receiving necessary services and the ability for a loved one to stay with you overnight.

Some expecting mothers see this as an intimate experience, turning to private coverage to be sure their loved ones, including children, can be on hand, or a midwife to guide them through the delivery process. Depending on the circumstance, private insurers can offer hotel accommodation, if medically approved, to give your family a place to stay as you wait for the newborn to come into the world. Depending on your level of private health care, you have some leeway in how long you can stay in a private hospital during the postpartum period.

Potential Out-of-Pocket Expenses


While having pregnancy coverage does provide an extra layer of health insurance, it doesn’t mean that every service will be covered by a private insurer, or covered in its entirety. This differs by policy and insurance company, so be sure to research your options. However, you can have peace of mind in knowing you have that public health coverage safety net of Medicare and Medicaid to assist with basic health care services.

Having a baby in a private hospital can be costly. Medicare pays part of the pregnancy management fee to your obstetrician, but full coverage may still leave some premiums for treatment services like the “gap” on medical services incurred in a hospital or elements of IVF treatments in trying to get pregnant. Overall, there are pros to both private health insurance and public coverage. Be sure to explore an affordable qualified health plan for your and your family’s needs.