Baby Hints & Tips

Private vs public maternity care in Australia

public vs private maternity care in AustraliaPrivate vs public to have baby in Australia? Please suggest a good private obstetrician in Australia and what were your out of pocket expenses please. Just want to see if it is affordable going private.

Our resident midwife shares her tips on choosing where to give birth.

Private Australian hospital for maternity care

  • Worth every cent, dollar and thousand!! Estah
  • I feel you get looked after a little better going private but have heard great and not so great stories about public also so really just depends what hospital. It just put my mind at ease having the same doctor throughout my pregnancy never went to hospital and had to wait to be seen. Regarding cost each doctor has a different price but I would say your looking at at atleast 4k depending on if your with a healthfund.. totally worth it id do it again for my next one Goodluck no matter what you choose I’m sure it’ll right for you! Amanda
  • After being disappointed with public due to up to four hour waiting times for docs appointments and then the costs of gp fees I have decided to go private. Ob is never late, I get a scan each time and the appointments with private ob are cheaper than my gp! $2000 handling fee and no extra for c-section (but will need to pay for anesthetiser if I have a c-section). My ob has 50 years experience. my emergency c-section doc was brand new in the public hospital and cut my artery accidentally. Lost loads of blood and I was tired for 4 months. Hated public for the time wasting, lack of experience, costs with gp sharing, inability to communicate with me and the way they treated my husband. Just my experience though! Rachel
  • I will never ever go public again. My experience was life threatening. Melissa
  • I went private and would definitely go private again. We had a well regarded Ob And all up would have been around 2500 out of pocket (we have private health cover that covered the hospital stay and delivery minus the gap). Also remember Medicare covers part of your monthly check ups, so the main out of cost it the mgmt fee (which varied from 1500 – 3500 amongst ppl I know) the scans and the gap at your check ups. Sharon
  • I am going private self-funded this time, as the public system was horrendous for my 1st child. It is setting me back around $12000 including obstrecian and caesar fees. If I had private insurance I would have saved around $5000. 100% worth every cent so far. Kate
  • Either public or private will completely depend on your carers and the hospital. It’s the luck of the draw! We went private and had a great experience. Out of pocket about $6,000 but $1,000 is from an anesthetist I was hoping not to need, plus about $500 from ultrasounds where you could bulk bill instead. NatashaI went private at Prince of Wales and the staff and entire experience were fantastic. I actually felt spoilt. OB’s fees were worth every cent. I’ll do it the same next time for sure. Nektaria
  • I loved going private and will definitely be paying the $$$ again next time. Choice of obstetrician combined with consistency of care. I was out of pocket approx $3500. Private health on contributes towards your hospital stay. Medicare contributes to appointments and scans. Its such a personal decision though and only you can choose what’s right for you Good Luck! ErinFor me personally I am very glad I went private. I had/have so much faith in my obs. I tried the public system for a while with my first but I did not feel supported. I had my first in a private hosp. And this one will be born again in a diff private hosp but one that is attached to a large public hosp. For private fees they have been just over $4000. Plus I will have to pay some additional costs for another c-section. KatrinaMy Ob was on the cheaper end of the scale and his fees were around $2,800. Plus cost of ultrasounds ($220 each), blood tests (usually can ask them to bulk bill). Anaesthetics fees if you need a c-section or epidural are anywhere from $300-$700+; plus your hospital excess and pharmacy, inpatient pathology etc. Research your preferred hospital and check with your health fund what they will/won’t cover. Nicole
  • Do a hospital tour of both a private and public that’s available to you. I have had three public and although I couldn’t fault the care, with the exception of my first (undetected forth degree tear, second csect and third vbac breech), I have decided that I’m going private this time round. So far am very impressed with the personal level of care, attention to detail and the waiting times! Also love the information and time that the midwife at the hospital gave me when I was only there to collect paperwork. Private def feels more like that care about you personally and that they are there for your well being and interests and that you not just another one to get out of the way. Cost wise…$80 per ob visit, $750 management fee and $500 for the hospital (private health cover). I’m going to be attending St. Andrews in Ipswich so your location would effect your costs. Obs are upfront with their costs so there is not harm in asking for a printout of their services. There are usually a few obs that service one area so look around and find one that suits your needs. Nadia
  • Absolutely loved going private. Best OB … Best care, loved the privacy in the room, food was great, hubby stayed with me, my anethesist even took amazing photos of my c section, let me see them while they stitched me up and burnt them onto disc for me to keep..Best service ever!!! Carolita
  •  I’m not sure what state your in but I was extremely disappointed with what paying thousands of dollars for private healthcare actually didn’t cover. We were still $6,000/$7,000 out of pocket in the end. Next baby we are going public. We’ve got a brand new public hospital opening up across the road from the private one and we’ll be going there. My experience – I went private with first bub as I was unsure of how things would go but unless there’s an issue with the next pregnancy I’m not wasting my money. If you do decide to go private shop around first and find out which provider will cover the most out of pocket expenses. I was stung my the obstetrician fee – $130 each time and of course you go fortnightly/weekly near the end Shannon
    It was absolutely worth the $ for me to go private. The level of pre and after care was incredible. I was very well looked after and it was great having the same person looking after me the whole time. I don’t need to explain everything over and over again. Having said that if you go public see if you can get into a midwifery group practice. MissyFor us going private has been worth every cent and OOP has been approx $4000 with us needing a few extra scans and a CVS. I have had friends who went public and got awesome care as well and some who had horrible experiences so i guess it comes down to personal choice, finances! Def get an OB who is recommended to you by a friend your more likely to be comfortable! Julie
  • I had my DD in a private hospital. I had am amazing experience, we had a Private room, partner was able to stay over night, food was incredible amd we were able to stay in for 5 nights. Which I needed as she was my first and the extra time to work things out with the help there was priceless. Also having a private OBGYN meant that I had a formed a relationship with him and was comfortable through the whole process & she really worked with me with that I wanted through my labour (which was a 27 hour marathon). In the end I was out of pocket $2500-$3000 & was worth every cent. Jaclyn
  • If you have top hospital cover your only expenses should be an excess (if you have one on your cover) and the obstetrician. It’s not cheap but I feel the level of care I am receiving is excellent. Also going private I feel if anything (god forbid) is wrong with bub at birth she will automatically receive best health care available. Sam
  • We went private. I had a very complicated pregnancy with a million tests and scans. Baby was then premature and had to be in NICU for a week. We have quite good insurance. Our out of pockets were close to $8000 BUT had we not had insurance it would have been astronomical. The hospital I was in (Frances Perry Melbourne) had everything in one building so there was no running around and I got to know everyone and my OB practiced in the building, as did my son’s paed. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. Lou
  • Our out of pocket was about $3,000 worth every single cent. Without the quality care we had by having a regular obstetrician looking out for me my baby wouldn’t have made it and I would’ve lost him at 38 weeks. If you can even kind of afford it I would. I had no risk factors going into the pregnancy but it changed towards the end Elana
  • I have the best hospital cover you can get but was still out of pocket $800 management fee for the obs (+ visit fees-$30 after medicare) + $700 anesthesis for unplanned c section + $500 excess for health fund. Kathryn
  • Private ob was . And there were no out of pocket expenses for us it was all covered Sue

Public Australian hospital for maternity care

  • I had a great experience going public. One thing to keep in mind if going private is what specialist care they can offer you and bub should anything go wrong. That quaint private hospital may feel like a hotel but not much good if they need to stick you in an ambulance to transfer you. Catherine
  • I have worked for and in the health fund industry for over 20 years. On average now, your out of pocket expenses for going private will be between $3000 – $8000, poss even more if for c section or premature baby birth. If you are prepared to pay that kind of money for a private obs and private hospital then go for it. Shop around for a private obs. Costs vary from suburb to suburb. Personally, I’d rather spend that money on buying things for the baby. I went public and it hardly cost us anything except for some medical tests required due to my age that were not fully covered by Medicare but I had lovely service at the royal women’s hospital Sandringham campus right from start of my pregnancy. Had a 2 bed ward and had it to myself for the first 3 nights. I will still go public if I have another one. God knows I’ve paid enough Medicare levy and taxes in my life – it’s time the public system did something for me!! Mel
  • I have birth in the public system at the Royal Women’s Melbourne and found it to be a good experience. The midwives were supportive of whatever my partner and I wanted to do (delayed cord cutting etc). They even did a home visit two days after we went home to make sure everything was going well before leaving us in the hands of the local maternal & child health nurse. I would go public again. Amelia
  • I think it depends which state and which hospital you are thinking about. I work at a private hospital and I always said yep I’m definitely having my baby in a private hospital. When the time came to make a decision I got a quote from a few obs (that I worked with so I was able to get a discount) I was still looking at being approx. $2500-$3000 out of pocket (inc pharmacy, anaesthetists should I need a c-sec). I decided to go public and very much preferred it. I had my own room with my chosen ob who was there at the birth. However I did have a few problems towards the end of my pregnancy (pre-term labour and pre eclampsia I was in and out of hospital which really would have cost me!). Also, another thing to consider is if you do go private, should there be any major problems with either you or the baby, you will most likely get moved the main public maternity hospital. Also, as someone who works in midwifery and at a private hospital, you can’t be guaranteed to have your chosen ob (which you pay thousands for!) at the birth. If you go into labour on a weekend and they are not on call, you will have the on call ob. My advice is to call around, get a few quotes and find out how much your private health fund will cover. Casey-Marie
  • It really depends on the hospital. I had 3 babies at Westmead public hospital. I had great experiences for all. I had some complications in my last pregnancy so I was at the hospital every 3 days for around 3 weeks. As soon as there was a change I was booked in the next day for an induction. Felt very looked after Haylee
  • Stats show ur more likely to have natural delivery at public hospital under midwives than at private hospital under ob in aust. Briony
  • We went public because I wasn’t sure we would b covered. Found put we were. The only downside to me was that I had different midwives n doctors at every appointment. Then I got extremely luck n got the same doctor twice in a row n he ended delivering bub. I had complications during birth n there was loads of help n explanations given to me. I would definitely go public again Regine
  • I gave birth at RPA Birthing Centre Camperdown as a public patient. Went through the GP midwife share care option. Scans and blood tests were free. In terms of accommodation the cost of a private room (hubby can stay with you) was approx $630 a night. Although I gave birth and registered as a Public patient, RPA allowed me to use my private health insurance to cover some of the costs of the room. In terms of public vs private go with what you feel comfortable with. I chose public not because of the low cost but because I wanted to stick with my GP and felt so comfortable with the midwives after meeting them. *I did look into a private midwife service and found Melissa Maimann but she was just too weird and demanded monies before I could even ask a question. Although i did find that rude it did help me realize which path i needed to go down. So speak to your doc, take hospital tours, meet the midwives and make your choice from there. Good luck !! Gina
  • I have had two in public system with no issues they where great and on top of everything my current pregnancy I’m going back through public and have been seeing both midwife and doctors to monitor this pregnancy and do far no issues with three weeks to go Amanda
  • if you end up having to have a cede rain going private you then incur fees for anesthetist that need to be paid and you don’t get much back we know we have to have a cede rain this time so are going public Kim
  • Public we live in a smaller town i got to choose the same midwife i had for my 2nd, get own room tv ect. I didn’t have a doctor present at any of my births only midwives as they werent needed. I had my first in a city public hospital and besides the room sharing it was great Zoe
  • I went public first, private second and public again third. My public experiences were better than the private. We were out of pocket a couple of thousand with private too. Not worth it. Best experience was in the birth centre under midwifery care. Highly recommend this. Natalie
  • I went public at Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick and I cannot praise them enough for the level of care I was given prior, during and post giving birth. I had some issues prior to giving birth and was admitted a few days before my induction. They gave me a private room and hubby was allowed to stay with me the whole time. I cannot recommend them enough and I’ll definitely be going public again for the next one. Laurise
  • I live in a regional town where we don’t have a private hospital. Even if you choose private and pay for a single room you can be moved, it is first in best dressed. Not many doctors are allowed to work in the hospital privately but we have a high care unit that has an ob you can see during your pregnancy who is free thru the hospital, we don’t need to be transferred unless you are really early as the specialists are here. Look at what your town offers if it’s like mine choosing private is only really to help the hospital with costs as everyone gets the same treatment. Good luck. I hope you enjoy the experience no matter which way you go. Michelle
  • It may depend on your location. I know our area (small regional) there wasn’t much point going private. Both times I had my own room & didn’t pay for much. Doctor bulk bills, hospital was free, a couple of the tests/scans don’t get much back on medicare, but overall very little cost & great care. I know if I went to the next town though I would’ve had shared rooms etc as its a bigger hospital/town. It would’ve cost way too much for private for us. But maybe check out your local hospital most can tell you what the difference is between their public & private options. Then you’ll just need to weigh up the cost Apryl
  • I have gone public twice, once in a small, rural hospital, and once in a large, city hospital. For both, the care was excellent; the midwives ran the show and were fantastic to deal with. I stayed four nights both times in a private room with good facilities. Would I have gained anything by going private? No. Emily

Private patient at a public hospital for maternity care

  • I was covered as a private patient in a public hospital. Meant I had the same OB the entire pregnancy as well as great midwife care and had my own room at hospital ( although that’s not guaranteed it was an added bonus). Only cost minimal amount plus hospital gets funds from my private health cover. Janelle
  • We have chosen to go private at RPA. We have reasons for this decision that for us justify the $5000 out of pocket. I chose my OB not to save money but because I wanted her to deliver our baby. I think a big part is were you will be if u go public. The RPA for example has such great option for public care, they have programmed where you even have the same person caring for you the whole way through and will be at delivery. Worth checking what the local hospital offers. Jessica
  • I had my first 2 private but the third in a public hospital as a private patient (I wanted my choice of ob due to complicated births in the past). The public hospital won my vote hands down. The staff were so much more friendly, there were more staff on the ward and they had the time for you and were never in a rush to the next patient. Public hospital as a private patient – best of both worlds! Kylie
  • Private through regional public hospital, co-contribution was waived and hubby roomed in for free. I was in hospital for 7 nights. Tay

Public hospital with a private doula for maternity care

  •  We looked at this closely. Best case scenario private was going to cost at least $3000 out of pocket on top of premium costs. Any complications during pregnancy would add to that eg. gestational diabetes. Also, intervention rates (including caesarean) are higher in the private sector. We had private insurance but decided to go PUBLIC and spend $1500 on a private doula to assist us pre, post and during labour. We scored a single occupancy room in the maternity ward and as our bub needed 2 weeks in NICU, we didn’t have to pay for paediatricians and other specialists for her care. Roselea

Private but ended up in public for maternity care

  • I ended up going public and had an amazing experience and they helped with so much, my friend however went private, ended up spending 6000$ and had to be transferred to a public hospital because of an emergency with her birth, something went wrong.. and ended up staying in a public hospital anyway. so you never no what is going to happen. but public was a real winner for me, i even had my own room. also.. my friend had the same doctor, up until she went into labour and he was uncontactable and had to have someone else she didn’t no to deliver. X Ashlei

 

Public shared care with GP for maternity care

  • I’m currently 16w with my first child and will be going public but with shared care through my GP. So far I’ve spent around $1000 for GP appointments, scans, and blood tests and I’m happy with my care. The last time I went private was for an emergency to remove my hubby’s appendix and we ended up $3,000 out of pocket despite spending $800 a year on private health insurance. The only benefits that I can see of private are nicer rooms, possibly shorter waiting lists and the choice of doctor. If there is an emergency, you will still probably go through the public health care system but will end up having to pay for it. Lisa

Parents share their thoughts on birthing centres vs hospital births

Did you choose Public or Private maternity care in Australia? Share your experiences below.

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  1. Avataremma says:

    I had my daughter public and i’ll be having this one public too. I picked a GREAT hospital. Were they specialise in pregnancy and birth. Everyone gets their own room public and private. I got everything bulk billed due to being public. I got my blood work done this pregnancy at a private place (it was closer to where I lived), cost me $30. After I went to medicare to see what of the $131 they covered. Last time I had everything done through the hospital no fees what so ever. Even Ultrasounds. Do your research because I have been through both good and bad public

  2. Avatararite says:

    Had our son in private hospital. Because we wanted the same OB for the pregnancy and also hubby was able to stay overnight in hospital with us as well. Also had the same midwive through birth which was great. Totally worth the money. The public hospital close to us has a very bad reputation and for next bub we need to decide – because of the expense. If we can we would go private again though….

  3. AvatarCandi says:

    We went public both first and second time through Bendigo Base Hospital Paid for one scan each time that wasn’t covered by Medicare ($220) and one 4D scan at private hospital (as I booked late and couldn’t get one early enough) – worth the money for the picture.
    Shared room first time but got a private double room for me and hubby to stay with second child for first two nights then Medi-hotel accomodation for two nights, then two nights in room next to special care (as out second was kept in hospital for 6 nights, until well enough to come home), with no out of pocket (except meals for hubby for 4 nights). AMAZING CARE! Chosen public again for bub 3 as they were all fantastic (in antenatal clinic, maternity and special care nursery).
    To be honest we’ve never had to use our hospital cover, just loads of extras for the family.

  4. AvatarChristine says:

    I had my first 2 public and had great experiences with both. The midwives were great, the delivery doctors and the after care was wonderful. A few of my friends have gone private in the past and swear its different.. but really, ive always thought, in a normal situation, what could be different. Guarenteed single room, your husband can stay the night, personal OB, same midwife etc..? All that is great, for maybe your first baby, and if you are willing to be out of pocket a few thousand?! My husband is dedicated on going private next, seeing as were already (and have always been) completely covered for it. And the fact its been 7 years since the last pregnancy. Liverpool Private was given the best rating for their maternity section in NSW, and luckilly for me, thats the closest (first within 30kms) to us! And i’ve only heard great things about them.
    So I guess im looking forward to the next “birthing experience”, in the not too near future.

  5. AvatarShae says:

    I went private and loved it. My Ob didn’t change anymore then what my private health and Medicare pay. I loved the fact I had my room to myself and my partner was allowed to stay the whole time we were in. We couldn’t of asked for a better experience our little girl is 4mths

  6. AvatarNatalie says:

    We delivered at Wesley Hospital as my husband had previously received excellent care. Our obstetrician was the perfect fit for us and worth every penny. I live in constant fear that he will resign or retire before we are done having babies!!

  7. AvatarJanita says:

    I have worked for QLD Heath & recently had a baby… I went private. It really depends on what health fund you are with and the hospital its self etc. My doctors fees were $3000-$4000 depending on the labour, complications etc. my Heath fund paid for EVERYTHING. I was not out of pocket a cent. They even paid the excess. If your wondering I’m with Medibank hospital & extras. Having worked for QLD Health I’ve seen & heard horror stories, both public & private. For me personally having the same doctor for every visit & delivery 100% puts your mind at ease.

  8. AvatarAnna says:

    I had caseload midwifery (3 midwives) at birth centre. Saw one of them every appointment, 24/7 phone cover if needed, they were there at my birth, then followed us up at home for several weeks via phone and home visits. They respected me, they took their time getting to know me and my husband and preferences, and in the end when I needed an advocate they were right there for me so my husband didn’t have to be bombarded. 2 natural drug and intervention free births (meconium baby and second breech) and going again for our third with same team third time in a row. And I’m not paying a single cent as it’s all public. If I didn’t get into birth centre care I’d choose private midwife in public hospital. Best of both worlds!

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