It is a sign of Australia's quickly growing population that newborns are brought into the world with increasing frequency each year.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 251,161 births in 2003, while that figure jumped to 309,582 only 10 years later.
However, as the number of births increases, so too does the cost of medical services. According to Medibank's recent report, the health fund's expenses for neonatal treatment and procedures during childbirth rose by 15.2 per cent this year compared to 2011.
In fact, seven of the 10 most expensive hospital treatments were related to neonatal care – totaling around $2.7 million in outlay by just this one insurance provider.
So with the cost of having a baby on the rise, what does this mean for policyholders?
Family health insurance
There comes a time in many people's lives when they decide to start a family. With regards to receiving private birth- and pregnancy-related care, this is where a family health insurance plan will come into play.
However, while contacting your health insurance broker may not be your first thought once you decide on this life-changing event, it should be high on the priorities list.
As the government's Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) explains: "All health funds have a 12-month waiting period for obstetric services and they're usually very strict in applying this rule. This means you need to have held the appropriate level of private health cover for at least 12 months before you're admitted to hospital."
Policyholders will want to use the benefits of their private health insurance policy to gain more control over where their maternity care takes place. However, it can be easy for them to fall into a cheaper policy that doesn't cover obstetrics, or otherwise pays restricted benefits such as public hospital care as a private patient.
The PHIO advice continues: "If you want to have your baby delivered in a private hospital, you will need to have a policy that covers you for this. Otherwise, you could incur large out-of-pocket costs if you don't have adequate cover."
The rising cost of having a baby
Typically, accommodation, delivery suite costs and the obstetrician's fee create the bill. However, it can be difficult to calculate exactly how much the final cost could be, with many factors playing a part in influencing the total amount.
For example, in most cases, the mother is considered the patient who needs to be paid for during obstetric care and the baby is accommodated with no extra charge. However, this does not apply when there is more than one birth, so in the case of twins, the cost of accommodation can be doubled.
To help matters, we have put together some information that gives families a bit of clarity into obstetric care and associated costs – and as a result emphasises the importance of their health insurance requirements.
Click here to read our fact sheet on the costs of having a baby.
Creating a family health insurance policy
Meanwhile, if you would like to create a complete health insurance policy that covers you and your loved ones during the testing time of family planning, there is much to think about.
At HICA, we have experts on hand to discuss your policy requirements, meaning you will be financially protected as you take this next step. And because we can compare health insurance across Australian providers, we can even make sure you are paying a highly competitive price.
To speak to an expert today, contact HICA on 1300 44 22 01.