Shared maternity care

Could it help reduce your costs in the private system?

Many obstetricians and private hospitals now offer a shared maternity care option, providing eligible patients with a private pregnancy and birth experience, with reduced out-of-pocket costs. 

 

Pregnant woman sitting on hospital bed

There are lots of choices to make when planning a pregnancy, but one of the most important decisions is choosing who will care for you throughout your pregnancy and birth.

While there are many benefits to having your baby in a private hospital with health insurance, it often involves significant out-of-pocket costs.

Shared maternity care can be a more affordable option that is becoming increasingly popular in the private hospital system.

Firstly, how does health insurance help with costs of my pregnancy and birth?

If you have hospital cover, it can help pay towards the cost of having your baby in a private hospital, provided you’ve served the 12-month waiting period and have the right level of cover. Medibank’s Gold level cover includes pregnancy and childbirth.

It’s important to understand that your hospital cover is not permitted to pay towards treatment outside of hospital, like scans or regular check-ups with your obstetrician throughout your pregnancy. These services are subsidised by Medicare, Australia’s public health system.

Even with Medicare subsidies, the out-of-pocket costs for check-ups with your obstetrician can often add up to thousands of dollars. Shared maternity care can help reduce these out of pockets.

How does shared maternity care work in the private system?

Traditionally in the private system, you would see your obstetrician for 10-14 check-ups throughout your pregnancy.

Shared care is when some of your check-ups are done with a midwife instead.

With a shared care arrangement, you will still be able to choose your obstetrician, or a group of obstetricians, and have the birth in a private hospital.

It’s important to remember that whether you choose traditional obstetrician-led care or shared care, you still need to hold hospital cover that includes pregnancy and birth for 12 months or more before your baby arrives to claim private health insurance benefits for the birth.

How does shared care help to reduce costs?

Seeing a midwife for some of your pregnancy check-ups instead of your obstetrician helps to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for your care. 

Why would I choose shared care?

Shared maternity care means you still get the private birth experience, but your out-of-pocket fees for check-ups are usually reduced.

Benefits of a private birth experience include more choice over who cares for you during pregnancy and birth, plus a higher likelihood of a private room and a longer stay in hospital after the birth.

Many women also enjoy receiving care from midwives as well as their obstetrician throughout pregnancy.

Is shared care right for me?

If you are interested in shared care as an option, speak to your GP or obstetrician to see if it is right for your situation.

Shared care is generally not suitable for high-risk pregnancies, such as twins or for women with complex medical history.  

Does my private hospital or obstetrician offer shared care as an option?

Availability of private shared care varies across Australia. Some private hospitals offer it in conjunction with obstetricians, while other obstetricians have a midwife employed as part of their practice. Here are some providers with a shared care option.

Queensland

New South Wales

Western Australia

There may be other options available in your local community – ask your private hospital or obstetrician.

What to ask before deciding on shared care

If you are considering shared care, here are some questions to ask your private hospital or obstetrician:

  1. Am I eligible?
  2. What is included in my care?
  3. What costs are included in the price?  What other out of pocket costs might I incur? We recommend obtaining quotes from an obstetrician and hospital to understand the total cost of your private birth care
  4. What other health professionals might be involved in my care?
  5. Does this service include post-natal care?

Need a little extra support?

Health Concierge

Eligible members with hospital cover can now talk to a member of our Health Concierge team for advice and guidance on how to have a healthy pregnancy, at no extra cost on 1800 789 414.#

Got a health question? 24/7 Medibank nurse phone service

Members with hospital cover can chat to experienced and qualified nurses over the phone to discuss any health questions or concerns and get professional advice on what to do next. Our nurses are available on 1800 644 325~ for round-the-clock health advice.

Medibank Mental Health Phone Support

Members with Hospital cover can talk with a mental health professional over the phone in relation to any mental health or emotional concern, 24 hours a day 7 days a week by calling 1800 644 325.~

Looking for something else?

Visit Medibank Planning, Pregnancy and Parenting for a range of tools and advice to help you at every stage of your pregnancy journey.


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Call us on 134 190 to speak to a consultant. Alternatively, chat to us 24/7 online.

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Things you should know

There is a 12-month waiting period for pregnancy and birth services, which are included in Medibank’s Gold level hospital cover.

Private health insurance funds are only permitted to pay benefits towards inpatient services. This means you need to have been admitted to a hospital in order for the benefit to be paid. During pregnancy, you are likely to have many outpatient appointments (when you are not admitted to hospital), including scans, tests, and visits with your obstetrician or GP. Private health insurance funds are not able to provide benefits for these appointments. However, you may get Medicare rebates for some of these services.

You will still have to pay an excess (if this applies to your hospital cover).

Medibank doesn’t endorse any one model of care over another or the providers listed above. 

While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees). 

~    OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.

#   Health Concierge is available to all eligible Medibank members who hold hospital cover. Excludes Overseas Visitor Health Cover, Working Visa Health Cover and Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Some referred services may involve out of pocket costs.

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