Health and wellbeing blogs

Private hospital insurance and planning a pregnancy

If you are planning a pregnancy and want to give birth in a private hospital, getting insurance well ahead of time is essential. Obstetrician Dr Chris Gunnell explains what you need to consider when looking at private hospital insurance options for your pregnancy.

St John of God Health Care maternityMany people only begin to think about adding maternity cover to their private health insurance once they have conceived.

Unfortunately, it is then often too late as most insurers have a 12-month waiting period before you can claim for maternity services.

This means that you might be disappointed to find you are not covered for birth in a private maternity hospital.

What the 12-month waiting period means

Most private health insurers have waiting periods in place which mean you cannot claim for a particular service until that waiting period has lapsed.

For maternity care, this is generally 12 months.

It is therefore important to think ahead and investigate your private health insurance options as soon as possible, even if you aren’t planning to conceive for another year.

What else to consider when choosing private health insurance?

Health insurers cover different services depending on the level of cover and their policies. 

Some things to consider when choosing private health insurance for maternity care include:

  • does the policy cover private hospital accommodation and not just a private obstetrician in a public hospital?
  • does the policy cover include birth suite and theatre fees?
  • is specialist neonatal care included in case your baby needs extra care after birth?
  • does the policy cover specific obstetrician’s and/or anaesthetist’s fees? (some funds cover only a select number of specialists and your obstetrician of choice may not be on their list)
  • what is the family policy arrangement once your baby arrives?

You should spend time looking for the best fund and cover to suit your needs. It is a good idea to also understand what costs might be involved and how to claim expenses so that you are not out-of-pocket unnecessarily.

Is there anything else worth considering?

Every woman has different needs and expectations of care during pregnancy, so try to take these into account when deciding on your health fund and level of cover.

You may like to check if you policy will cover other services that may be beneficial during your pregnancy such as:

  • physiotherapy
  • pilates
  • massage therapy
  • nutritionist consultations
  • ambulance
  • pregnancy compression garments
  • lactation consultant care.
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Dr Christopher Gunnell Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

About the Author

Dr Gunnell is a Perth trained obstetrician and gynaecologist who has been in private practice since 1998 and practices at St John of God Murdoch Hospital.  He has a particular interest in normal childbirth, but also has the experience and expertise to manage high-risk and complicated pregnancies and births. He provides a wide range of general gynaecological services, with a special interest in the management of menstrual issues and menopause.