What it really costs to have a baby

THE average cost of having a baby in a private hospital has jumped 34

per cent in the past six years to more than $8500 per birth.

It remains the most common overnight hospital procedure, according to health fund Medibank Private, which says last year new mums faced average out-of-pocket costs of $392 per birth.767641-d2429e94-a6b7-11e4-aef8-6051c59c143f

This does not take into account any expenses mums faced for out-of-hospital care by their obstetricians, who can charge up to $10,000 per birth.

Giving birth as a public patient in a public hospital is free.
Health funds are understood to be seeking premium rises of almost three times the rate of inflation in April and the cost of childbirth has been identified as one of the key drivers of their rising costs. This is despite the number of childbirth admissions covered by newly privatised Medibank falling 5 per cent to 21,500 in 2014. The fund says rising medical and hospital costs are behind the increase.

The care of premature babies is also affecting health fund premiums. The cost of care for a premature baby of more than $740,000 was the single most expensive benefit paid by the health fund in 2014.

New mother Amy Hunt said there seem to be a lot of extra costs that she didn’t expect.

“I went through the public system so a lot of expenses were covered but I had a lot of complications that weren’t,” Miss Hunt said.

“And now that I’ve got Cleo, she’s had complications too.”

“The expenses do add up — just increasing my health insurance to cover her as well is another $100 a month.”