Private health insurance is a must-have for many Australian families of all ages and sizes. Not only can private health insurance help your family save money on health care, it can reduce your tax liability. While these factors are important,…
Benefits of Pregnancy Cover
When planning a pregnancy, there’s one question that keeps cropping up: why get private health cover when Medicare is free?
It’s a valid question, and the answer isn’t the same for everyone. While it’s true that Medicare covers the cost of your in-hospital care, it can’t cover all of the services that pregnancy cover can.
With health insurance for pregnancy, you can access more options throughout your pregnancy and during the birth of your baby. Rather than going to the nearest public hospital, where you’ll see the doctor on duty at the time, you can choose your hospital and obstetrician.
For many women, one of the greatest advantages of pregnancy cover is access to a private room. It can be comforting to know that you don’t have to share the experience with your newborn post-birth in a room with strangers, especially for first-time parents.
In some cases, you might be able to have your partner stay overnight with you which can also be comforting.
Pregnancy cover includes different benefits depending on your policy, but in general it covers the following:
- Delivery suite costs during the birth
- Hospital accommodation when your baby is born
- Prenatal classes
- Obstetrician’s fees during the delivery
Be aware that you may have to pay some out-of-pocket fees for medical services, even with pregnancy cover. This varies between policies, so it pays to shop around for a policy with comprehensive benefits.
When you buy pregnancy cover, you’re giving yourself more options and a personalised level of care. Having a baby comes with so many unknowns, it can be nice to get some control over your health care.
Planning Your Pregnancy Cover
Pregnancy cover isn’t something you can purchase after you find out you’re pregnant. Most policies have a 12-month waiting period from the time you take out the policy to the time your baby is born.
For babies who are born prematurely within the 12-month waiting period, you may still be covered. However, it will depend on the terms and conditions of your policy. To be safe, take out your pregnancy cover with plenty of time to spare.
Of course, pregnancy doesn’t always happen on cue and each woman’s experience is different. You may find that it takes longer than expected to get pregnant, which is why it’s worth considering cover for fertility treatment when you plan your pregnancy cover.
Fertility Treatment & Health Insurance for Pregnancy
Pregnancy cover does not automatically cover reproductive services. While some policies may include cover for treatments like IVF, others do not.
Like pregnancy cover, fertility treatments usually come with a 12-month waiting period before you can claim benefits. It’s a good idea to plan ahead if you think you might need fertility treatment down the line, as it can save you agonising months of waiting.
Medicare does cover some reproductive services, but once again, they cannot cover everything. You may also have to receive treatment in a public hospital as opposed to your regular private hospital.
In general, fertility cover includes treatments you receive as a hospital inpatient, such as hospital accommodation and theatre fees. For example, with IVF, egg collection and embryo transfer may be conducted as an inpatient.
Fertility cover can reduce your hospital costs in ways that Medicare cannot. Depending on your policy, it may cover day hospital expenses for IVF, which can save you thousands.
After Your Baby is Born
So you’ve organised your pregnancy cover with plenty of time to spare, but what about your baby’s health cover? Once your baby arrives, he or she may not be automatically covered by your existing policy.
Fortunately, it’s easy to get your baby covered: simply add him or her to a family policy. There are a few different scenarios that may apply, depending on your situation.
I Have an Existing Family Policy
If you already have children, chances are you’ve already got a family policy. In this case, you’ll likely just need to add the new arrival to the policy.
I Do Not Have an Existing Family Policy
For your first baby, you will probably need to upgrade to a family policy before he or she is born. If you’re currently on a singles or couples policy, it’s worth checking to see if your policy covers dependents up to a certain age. If so, you may have more time to upgrade.
If not, find out if your policy has a waiting period for upgrading and adding a child. This is usually one to three months, though some policies do require a 12 month waiting period. Make sure you switch to the new policy in time to ensure that your baby is covered at birth.
If you are having multiples, it’s important to check the terms and conditions of your policy to be sure that all of your babies are covered.
Family cover is especially critical if there are complications at birth and your baby has to be admitted to hospital.
Choosing Your Pregnancy Cover
As you’ve probably noticed, not all pregnancy cover is created equal. One fund’s benefits may be completely different from another’s, making it hard to know how to find the coverage you need.
With pregnancy cover, it’s essential to shop around. Compare policies to identify which ones offer the benefits that are most important to you at a price you’re comfortable with.
Once that’s arranged, you can check ‘pregnancy cover’ off your list—now it’s time to start planning for a baby!