O.M.F.G. I am so irritated right now.
This could get complicated, so try to stay with me. Australia has a public health system, I’m sure I’ve talked about it before. But there is also a private option, of which we have bought into. We pay about $210 a month for hospital and extras cover for the 3 of us (extras being dental, vision, chiro, etc).
We have been with them for over a year now, so we don’t have any waiting periods or anything for any of the services. However, when we had our son, we hadn’t been with them for 12 months, so were not eligible for maternity. Which meant we had Nicklas at the public hospital, not the private. It also meant that I saw a GP during my pregnancy, not an OB.
So here’s how it currently works to “go private” for maternity. You get pregnant, you start seeing an OB who charges whatever they want per visit. For arguments sake, we’ll say $100 per visit. MEDICARE (the public health sector) gives you a refund on part of that, say approximately $70. So you are $30 out of pocket for your visit. Your private health fund gives you NOTHING. $0. So then your OB says, “Oh, by the way, I have a $3000 pregnancy maintenance program fee, as well as a $1500 delivery fee.” Of this, Medicare currently refunds 80% of your out-of-pocket expenses. Again, for arguments sake, you’re out of pocket say $900 for those fees. Then you get admitted to hospital to deliver the baby, and PRIVATE healthcare finally kicks in. In our case, I think we have a $500 deductible that we’d pay and the rest is covered. So not too bad $1400, + OB visits to have your baby in a private hospital and have continued care from the same OB throughout your pregnancy and recovery.
Starting January 1 of 2010, the Medicare rebate will be capped at $300 for OB fees. Meaning instead of paying $1400 to have your baby, you’ll be paying $4700, PLUS whatever you pay for your OB visits during your pregnancy.
Why does this irritate me? I was hoping to have our next bub in the private system. But WHY would I pay all that money, when I can “go public” and not pay a CENT, other than my copay for my GP visits?
To top it off, public hospitals are already delivering TWICE the number of babies they are equipped to handle in a year. This is just going to put even more strain on the already-flailing public healthcare system. I’m sure I’m not the ONLY woman who would have had her next bub in the private hospital, but will now most likely have it in the public one.
I’m not sure who is behind this change, but given that Medicare is the government-funded health scheme, I’d assume its them. While I’d love to blame this on our Prime Minister, or on his party, or on all the MALE politicians, I’m fairly certain the minister for health is a woman. Our Deputy PM is a woman. There are plenty of front and back benchers who are women. HOW does something like this get approved!? Who gave thought to the consequences of this action? I can only assume NO ONE did, or else surely it wouldn’t have been passed.
Those figures I gave for costs are really just for arguments sake. I don’t have the first clue how much OBs charge for visits or maternity programs or delivery fees, etc. What I do know is that I’m REALLY PO’d that we have private healthcare but it doesn’t seem to cover shit.
Perhaps that is the real problem? Perhaps this is a private healthcare argument. Maybe OB/GYNs need to be covered under “extras” in pivate healthcare options. Of course that would probably just drive our premiums up higher than their already-over-inflated costs.
I’m not even pregnant, but man, as someone who may be pregnant again one day, this really [expletive] irritates me.