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Private healthcare options for having a kid?


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Hi Guys,


Just need some advice. I am currently with HCF on the minimum hospital and extras cover.


We are thinking about family planning and would then need to upgrade. I don't mind changing from HCF and looking at Bupa and Medibank.

Whilst i understand the need for increase hospital cover i am debating on the extras.


So my question is, with regards to starting a family :

1) What level of cover would you think is adequate and why?

2) Are the extras necessary or will medicare suffice?

3) Which insurer would you recommend from your experience?


Or any other advice would be greatly appreciated.


Many thanks


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Firstly, do yo uhave access to medicare?


If you do, I would go and have a look at the hospitals in your area. For example, Royal North Shore public hospital in Sydney has a neo natal intensive care. The private hospital next door does not. So, from that point of view you are better off at the public hospital.


Where private does shine is you can book appointments and see the same doctor each time. At a public hospital your appointment is somewhere between 3 and 5pm. And you see whichever doctor is on duty. So your wife will have to take the entire morning or afternoon off work for each appointment. There could be lots of those appointments. More if she has minor complications like gestational diabetes. 


Also, some GPs do "Shared Care" which means that many of those appointments could be handled at a GP. That means your wife could walk 5 minutes down the road from work, see the GP and be back at work in an hour. But you would have to do some research to find GPs in your area that do that (very few do).


For some people, a happy medium is to have your own obstetrician (or Gynacologist) but have your child in a public hospital (with all the facilities). You pay for the obstetrician, but you see the same doctor each time and can book appointments.


Oh and remember many doctors work in the public system and the private system. A public doctor with a good reputation may take on a few private patients 2-3 days a week. So, the quality of doctors isn't less in the public system, the difference is you can't pick your doctor or book specific times.


Another peice of advise is some seemingly private facilties accept medicare rates. For example, you could have a scan done at Macquarie Medical Imaging (part of Macquarie University Hospital). At Macquarie Medical Imaging you can book a specific time, but they are not a specialist pregnancy facility.


Also, my wife did certain of her scans at a private facility. At the public system they do the scan in +-15 minutes. The private facility accross the road from the hospital will spend 30 minutes with you. You could ask a doctor about common pregnancy scans and decide to do one or two at a private facility. Public hospitals do (very rarely) miss things because they can only spend limited time with you. It made my wife feel better knowing she had 2 scans which she said were more thorough and allowed her to ask more questions.


Oh and go to courses at the community health centre at your local hospital. They do pregnancy readyness courses where midwives answer all your questions. They may even take you on a tour of the hospital. So, call up your local hospital and ask if they do any pregnancy readyness courses.


Oh and do not go near Medibank.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-23/more-health-insurers-to-face-court-for-consumer-rip-offs/8298140. But whatever private insurer you choose, ALWAYS ask about what is not covered. You will be shocked and could be out of pocket $1000s of dollars because your wife needed something that wasn't bog standard. Also ask about waiting times (if you don't have insurance already). You don't get "bill shock" at a public hospital ;)


In summary, we barely used our bupa cover when we had our kids. We were too worried about "bill shock". But we got fantastic service at Royal North Shore Public, even if my wife had to sit and wait hours for appointments. We currently only have insurance to avoid the lifetime loading... But then again our friends spent $5000 on a private obstetrician as she was a midwife (in the USA) and having a private obstetrician made her feel better. So, its really what you want.







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Wow, thank you @monsta for the in depth response. Will definitely have a chat with the wifey and see where she stands with regards to some of the points you have made. I guess it comes down to what you are willing and not willing to do, for example wait for a few hours for an appointment.


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We had two kids on medicare here, since we had PR. The first was born before the 12 month wait to access our private medical, so we were pretty much forced to go public. What a blessing. We had the most amazing care before, during and after the birth. I might add that I am not precious about a doctor/nurse/anaesthetist not knowing my middle name and shoe size. By the time the second baby arrived 20month later, I did everything exactly the same, accept we had HCF pay for a private room. (The first time the hospital gave me one, because there were many free).

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Thanks @rozellem, that's good to know. So its just as efficient going the public route. Just nice to have the private room i guess.

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