The average cost of having a baby in a private hospital is now over $8,500, and no, that doesn’t include out-of-hospital obstetrician’s fees, nappies, or antenatal classes.
A new study by Medibank Private has revealed that the cost of birth has leapt up by 34 per cent in the last six years — the increase is due to rising medical and hospital costs, news.com.au reports. And while parents can claim some of that amount back, Medibank reports that last year new mums faced an average out-of-pocket cost of $392 per birth.
Obviously, in Australia you can head to your local public maternity ward to give birth for free; a public hospital birth is likely to include a stay at the maternity clinic, a midwife-managed birthing centre, and a community-based midwifery programme (although if you opt for a shared care system — in which you see a non-bulk billing GP for most of your doctor visits — you’ll have to shoulder some out-of-pocket costs).
But, whether the birth itself is public or private, there are still other baby essentials — think: cots, formulas, prams, taking time off work to have the baby — to factor into your budget if you plan to reproduce one of these days.
And, if you’re like any of the non-mums in the Mamamia office, the figures will provide a serious incentive to start saving, stat. They include:
Obstetricians, scans and blood tests.
Private health insurance doesn’t cover out-of-hospital expenses like obstetrician appointments, although those OB visits may be covered to some extent by Medicare.
The national average comes in at $1700 for all obstetrician’s appointments — although the average bill for a Sydney obstetrician is $4000 to $5000, according to the Australian Medical Association.
NIB also reports that an obstetricians’ full fees have been known to hit (a scary) $10,000.
You’ll also need pregnancy scans and blood tests throughout the pregnancy.
An initial blood screening costs between $30-200 (although you can get a Medicare rebate of up to about $60), according to NIB. If you’re going public, ultrasounds are free, but you only get two throughout the pregnancy. If you’re going private, ultrasounds can cost $150 -$300, with a Medicate rebate covering some of that sum.
Care for premature babies can be costly; the cost of treating these babies ranged from $247,000 to (in one case) a whopping $740,000 paid out by the health fund last year, news.com.au reports.