Whilst planning for a baby is an exciting time, it can also be very overwhelming. There are so many things to think about, from the obvious (do we have room for a nursery?) to the not so obvious. For example, your private health insurance may not automatically cover your newborn, and rules differ between policies - with some requiring several months’ notice before your child is born.
Health insurance expert Laura Crowden explains below what you need to know about private health insurance in 5 simple steps, so that you can focus on the important stuff, like what shade you want to paint your baby’s room and whether to keep it organic during your pregnancy.
1. Baa, baa black sheep have you any cover?
Most private health insurance funds require you to have had private cover that includes pregnancy for 12 months (from when you take it out or upgrade) before you can claim on hospital costs related to child birth. This means you need to have pregnancy cover for at least three or four months before falling pregnant, so it's important to take out cover or upgrade as soon as you start thinking about having a baby.
2. Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…
Just because you already have private health insurance, doesn’t mean you are automatically covered for pregnancy. Cheaper budget and basic policies, and many mid-range policies, do not cover pregnancy, obstetrics or IVF. Call your health fund and find out if your policy includes pregnancy. If not, think about whether you want to upgrade.
3. Hush little baby don’t you cry
Private health insurance won't cover all the costs of having a baby (including the sleep you might lose when your bub cries through the night). How much you will have to pay to have your baby in a private hospital will vary depending on the hospital and obstetrician. GP visits, obstetrician appointments, blood tests and antenatal classes are extra on top of this.
4. Hey diddle diddle don’t be confused by the riddle
Your baby won't necessarily be automatically covered by your private health insurance policy. Private health funds have different rules about when you need to add your newborn baby to your policy. Contact your private health insurer once you fall pregnant to find out when you'll need to add your baby to your policy to make sure they are covered from birth.
5. Roses are red violets are blue, going private might be best for you
The key benefits of having your baby privately can include the ability to choose both your own doctor/obstetrician and hospital, having a private room and staying in hospital for longer. Other benefits vary between hospitals and depend on your level of private cover.
ABOUT THE EXPERT
Laura Crowden is an iSelect health insurance expert.