When a couple makes the exciting decision to have a baby, the first thing that comes to mind usually isn’t the process of sorting out health insurance. However, having this security for the duration of your pregnancy can be really important. But how do you even begin going about getting a policy? Here are a few things that you might want to consider about health insurance and pregnancy:
Which benefits do you want/need?
The private health system definitely provides certain privileges that you can’t access through the public system. For example, you have the ability and freedom to choose your preferred doctor and hospital, which is a benefit for many. Especially while you’re in the later stages of your pregnancy, having the freedom to choose your hospital and ensure that you’re close to your family and friends (as well as having a doctor that you trust) is important. Also, with some policies you can choose to have a private room and access certain extras such as birthing or prenatal classes.
For many, babies can be expensive, so it’s important that you think about what other aspects of pregnancy your insurer covers. Typically, the three main aspects of cover offered private health insurers in Australia are the hospitalisation, birth and postnatal stages of pregnancy. However, depending on your level of cover, you may also be eligible for benefits such as cover for accommodation costs, theatre fees, anaesthetists, pharmaceuticals, obstetrician fees, paediatrician fees and various other medical fees.
Are you eligible for cover?
Interestingly, most health insurance providers in Australia will typically only cover you for pregnancy services if you take out your policy well in advance. For example, many funds enforce a 12-month waiting period for obstetrics, which means you may have to take out your policy as far as three months before you actually conceive. Also, some policies might exclude post-birth treatments for your baby, so check whether your baby is actually covered. Before you give birth, you may need to upgrade to a family policy to cater to this.
Typically, you won’t be covered for any appointments that occur outside of a hospital (if you only have hospital cover). These can include:
● Trips to the doctor (GP)
● Blood tests
● Obstetrician or specialist check-ups
● Anything else that takes place outside of a hospital
You most likely won’t be able to receive cover for gap fees (the difference between the Medicare benefit you receive and fees the doctor charges) either. You also generally won’t receive cover for your baby’s check-ups and unfortunately, you’ll most likely have to pay any excesses or co-payments for hospital admissions.
What about IVF or assisted reproductive technologies?
IVF can be tricky to cover as not all funds include it or other assisted reproductive technology services in their policies and the funds that do cover it may enforce a 12-month waiting period. If your procedure occurs within a hospital, there is a chance that your hospital policy will be able to provide some form of cover, but bear in mind that this varies across different insurers, so make sure you check first!
Taking out private health insurance when you’re having a baby can be a daunting thought. If you aren’t sure how to go about it, jump online and compare various policies to get an idea of what will suit you best. Good luck, and remember to enjoy this exciting time!
Bessie Hassan is a mother of two and an Insurance Expert at finder.com.au, Australia’s most visited comparison website.
Other Bubbaroo blogs that you might like: