Having a baby can be both terrifying and exhilarating. There’s a lot of things you have to plan and consider, and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement. However, bringing a new person into the world can get quite expensive. Don’t put the financial costs of giving birth on the back burner, and be prepared as early into your pregnancy as possible.
One essential cost to think about is your obstetrician’s fees. An obstetrician is a doctor who’ll provide specialized care during your pregnancy and birth. They’re skilled in managing high-risk or complex pregnancies and births. They’re also licensed to perform caesareans and interventions.
Avoid dealing with costly surprises by learning as much as you can now. Here are five things that you, as an expectant mom, need to know about obstetrician fees:
In This Article
1. Private Vs. Public Hospitals
If you decide to give birth in a birth center or public hospital, the obstetrician fees are covered by Medicare, a government-funded health insurance system. In a private hospital, however, the amount you need to pay out-of-pocket would depend on the fees your obstetrician charges above the Medicare Scheduled Fee. If you’re wondering how much it’ll cost you to have your baby as a private patient, you can find out here.
Here are the key differences between seeing an obstetrician in a public vs. a private hospital:
|Public Hospital||Private Hospital|
|You can’t choose an obstetrician. You’ll also need a referral from your general practitioner (GP) to see one if you want to get a Medicare rebate.||You can choose the obstetrician that best suits your preferences and requirements.|
|You’ll see an obstetrician only when it’s necessary— for instance, if you have a high-risk pregnancy.||Your obstetrician will conduct your antenatal checkups and help you prepare for labor.|
|During labor and birth, you won’t need to see an obstetrician unless complications or emergencies arise.||During labor and birth, your obstetrician may visit, but you’ll be mostly be under the care of midwives. They’ll also be there to manage complications or interventions.|
2. Medicare Coverage
As previously mentioned, the costs of seeing an obstetrician as a public patient are covered by Medicare. However, if you don’t have coverage by Medicare or another policy, you’ll have to pay for your pregnancy and birth-related costs in full.
If you’re a private patient or seeing a private obstetrician while you’re in a public hospital, you’ll need to pay any gap between the obstetrician’s fees and Medicare rebate. If you have private health insurance, your policy may be able to cover your out-of-pocket expenses. Check with your insurer to find out if you have the correct level of coverage.
3. Pregnancy Management Fee
The bulk of the fees you’ll need to pay your obstetrician usually goes to pregnancy management. This is a one-time fee that all obstetricians charge at 28 weeks. It covers the following:
- Indemnity insurance premiums that all doctors have to pay
- Hospital support services, including theater fees, admin support, blood bank, etc.
- Other obstetric costs, such as locum cover and after-hours coverage
4. Additional Costs
Here are the other costs included in your obstetrician’s fees:
- Antenatal consultations: Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll attend one initial consultation and 14 more consultations after that. You’ll be charged for each one of those. The bill is subsidized by Medicare.
- Attendance at delivery: Labor and birth management are in-hospital services that are subsidized by gap cover schemes.
- Postnatal Check: This consultation is typically done six weeks after your baby’s birth. This out-of-hospital fee is subsidized by Medicare.
- Additional Fees For Complications: If complications arise during labor and birth, care and management may result incur out-of-pocket costs.
Expectant mothers who are living in rural or remote areas may not have access to a local obstetrician. Some private obstetricians may offer a ‘shared care’ arrangement where you split your appointments between an obstetrician from bigger town and your local GP or midwife. Costs depend on whether the arrangement is with a public or private hospital, but you’ll typically pay less compared to being a private patient.
If you’re planning to give birth in a public hospital, you’re fully covered by Medicare and won’t have to pay anything, including your obstetrician’s fees. It’s the best way to keep your costs down. However, if you’d rather receive care from a private obstetrician or give birth in a private hospital, be prepared to pay more. Costs will vary greatly depending on how much your obstetrician will charge above the Medical Scheduled Fee.