Media releases

November 16, 2005

Expecting a baby? That's not all you could be expecting

It's common knowledge that kids cost money. But many soon-to-be families don't realize that the costs can start before you get to the delivery room. Data from Medibank Private shows that health insurance claims paid on behalf of parents having a new baby range from $1,400 to $4,500. But there can be unexpected costs on top of these that wanting-to-be parents should be aware of.

Anyone planning to have a baby can find out how to make the most of their private health insurance by picking up a new brochure titled 'What to expect? - A guide to private health insurance for parents to be', from any Medibank Private Retail Centre. The guide answers common questions about health insurance cover and aims to make this important time in parents' lives as positive and as stress free as possible.

Medibank Private Managing Director, George Savvides, wants those planning a family to be armed with the facts, so their baby comes without any financial surprises.

"There are some very simple questions to consider - but timing, like all things with pregnancy, is critical.

Anyone thinking about having a baby should check exactly what their health cover offers and should be aware that there is a 12 month waiting period for obstetrics-related services. This means they should have suitable private health insurance at least 12 months before their baby is born to ensure they are covered for the birth. Parents should also remember to add their newborn to their membership as soon as possible after the birth - to ensure that any specialist treatment provided to the baby immediately after his or her birth is also covered.

In addition to the hospital costs (accommodation, theatre and labour ward), which are covered by your health fund, there can be fees for specialist medical services such as obstetrics, anaesthesiology. A portion of these additional medical costs can be claimed on Medicare (75% of the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for doctors' services provided in hospital). The remaining 25% of the MBS fee can be claimed through your private health insurance - if you have taken out appropriate cover for obstetrics-related services and for your newborn.

Parents are responsible for any fees that are above the MBS fee, so should check with their medical specialists as to what their out-of-pocket expenses will be. These expenses can be minimised if the medical specialists participate in Medibank Private's GapCover scheme.

"Appropriate health cover makes sense. It's not just about being able to choose how to better protect your health. It also takes away the worry of unexpected costs, so you can focus on your baby" he said.

Quick DIY guide

1. Do you want to have your baby in a private hospital (allows you to choose the hospital and doctor) or as a private patient in a public hospital (you can choose your own doctor)?

If you answer yes, then you should consider private health insurance to cover the hospital costs. But with most insurers there is a 12 month waiting period before you can claim benefits for obstetrics-related services.

2. Are you covered for hospital costs at the hospital of your choice? It's easy to check, simply call your health fund.

3. Are you covered by Medicare and your health fund for your doctor's fees? Your doctor will be able to tell you the fees in advance, including how much you will receive back. Some doctors offer 'no-gap' arrangements with a health fund. This means that there are no out-of-pocket expenses. But you need to check with your doctor.

Please call 132 331 or visit www.medibank.com.au for your nearest Retail Centre location, where you can collect a copy of Medibank Private's new brochure titled,
'What to expect? - A guide to private health insurance for parents to be'.

-ends-

For more information contact:
Medibank Private
Libby Woolnough, PH: +613 8622 5181 / 0411 659 060
E-mail: libby_woolnough@medibank.com.au


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