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  5. Is it too late to switch, private to public?

Is it too late to switch, private to public? Rss

I am 18wks with pregnancy number 2 and as with my first pregnancy have gone private, however because I want a VBAC i have to go to a public hospital (Mercy for Women, Heidelberg) which I'm fine with.
So I've been weighing up the pros and cons of private over public care and I'm struggling to find enough positives to be out of pocket $4000-5000 using my private cover. I've also had to have amniocentesis so have been even more so out of pocket paying for that.
I have read that you can be too late to get into your chosen public hospital, but as I am already booked to go to the Mercy Hospital as a private patient is it likely that I would be able to simply swop from private to public?
Whether I simply have rubbish health cover I don't know, but I cannot understand the benefits of going private when you are so out of pocket with the expenses.
I would love to hear people's thoughts on private vs. public and of course whether anyone knows if I would be OK to swop my care within the same hospital.
It's so typical that I've made this decision on a Friday night, so I now have to wait till Monday to find out what my options are.


I am 18wks with pregnancy number 2 and as with my first pregnancy have gone private, however because I want a VBAC i have to go to a public hospital (Mercy for Women, Heidelberg) which I'm fine with.
So I've been weighing up the pros and cons of private over public care and I'm struggling to find enough positives to be out of pocket $4000-5000 using my private cover. I've also had to have amniocentesis so have been even more so out of pocket paying for that.
I have read that you can be too late to get into your chosen public hospital, but as I am already booked to go to the Mercy Hospital as a private patient is it likely that I would be able to simply swop from private to public?
Whether I simply have rubbish health cover I don't know, but I cannot understand the benefits of going private when you are so out of pocket with the expenses.
I would love to hear people's thoughts on private vs. public and of course whether anyone knows if I would be OK to swop my care within the same hospital.
It's so typical that I've made this decision on a Friday night, so I now have to wait till Monday to find out what my options are.


I think it's ok, public can't turn you away - but private can. I have top health cover but with the change in Medicare rebate for the 20 week fee plus all other out of pocket expenses I would be up for 4000 so would go public as well. We pay $255 a month health ins. And generally it's good claim wise but not when it comes to pregnancy & obstetrics.
I have full private cover but my issue has always been finding an ob. to take me on . (Due to health problems I have.)

So with my first I went public and was rather happy with it. Most people who came to visit me in hospital were amazed how well I was treated and quite often my room has been bigger than the ones they had at private hospitals.

With my first two I would have been roughly $1500 out of pocket which I would be happy with but these days I would be about $5000 out of pocket. (If I was to go with the only obs. I could find to take me on. She specialises in my area.) I would also have to travel almost 70mins. each way for my appointments and also be a fare way from the hospitals she works at!

So even though I stupidly still pay for anti-natal care with my private health insurance company we have decided to stick with public for each of our pregnancies!



This is my 3rd child and I have been through the public system with each of them and it has not cost me a cent. In Queensland, well Brisbane where I am from anyway, the public system cannot turn you away but a specific hospital can. What I mean by that is you have to live in the particular hospitals catchment area to be able to access the services without question. If you would prefer to give birth at another public hospital that you do not live in the catchment area for you can apply to access care there and it is either accepted because of extenuating circumstances (you normally live in a remote area and you are living with family etc until you give birth, etc) or you are put into a lottery to 'win' a place. Hope this helps. It probably will help to call the hospital directly.
Thank you so much for your replies, why is that private has changed so much recently leaving everyone so out of pocket?
I'm definitely going to make the switch, I'm so annoyed with myself for not making the decision in the beginning as I'm already $1000 down. At least I'll be saving myself $4000 by changing now.
Thanks again for all of your feedback, so much appreciated smile
I'll keep you posted how I get on.


The thing that annoys me most is that with private you have to pay for all the ultrasounds, blood tests and any other tests. In public you don't pay for any of that (expect I think the 12 week ultrasound as it is not considered essential). I don't see why private and public patients are treated differently for standard tests outside of hospital. My friend who went private for twins had to have heaps of ultrasounds towards the end of her pregnancy and it cost her a fortune but if she was public it would have all been free.


I'm in NSW. I'm going private. My obstetrician asked if I wanted to have my ultrasounds at the public hospital (it's a teaching hospital) or at the private ultra sound place for women. I chose public and haven't had to pay for any of my ultrasounds (I've had a 7 week, 12 week, 19 week and about to have a 30 week one soon). I just had to pay for the 12 week blood test associated with the scan which was about $85 I think??? and got some back from Medicare.

The blood tests, my obstetrician wrote bulk bill on the form so I hadn't had to pay for those either.

My antenatal checks with my obstetrician are $75.00 and get nearly half back from Medicare (this is the same fee as my GP). I did shared care with my GP last pregnancy but this time I'm happier because I don't have to wait in a waiting room full of sick people and I also don't have to wait long at all in the waiting room (as opposed to the public system where you wait for ages!!)

Also .... my obstetrician only charged us $300 for the management fee!!!

I wasn't going to go privately because of the huge costs, but my girlfriend told me about her costs, so I quickly upgraded my Health cover and went with the same obstetrician.

She is beyond wonderful. She is very thorough and lovely.

I'm just scared of the costs involved if I have to have an emergency caesarean or what happens (re costs) if my baby needs to go to NICU. (My first son had to go to NICU and I was public and he received the best care and didn't cost us a cent.

So I think it pays to shop around for an obstetrician. I have no idea why she only charges $300. Perhaps ask your obstetrician if you can get ultrasounds done at public hospitals and ask if they can bulk bill blood tests. I don't know why she can/does .... but am so grateful she does smile
Hi there,
I am the opposite. I went public with my first and have now chosen to go private. With DS I did shared care and my GP was fabulous. I didn't like seeing different midwives and drs on every hospital visit (I was at the Royal Womens Hosptial Melb). My birth experience was horrible and at the time of delivering I had about 20 people in the room including 4 teams on 4 seperate machines for bubbs. He was fine but it was a horrible experience that left me very scared.

This time around I didnt even have to think twice about going Private. Yes I will be out of pocket by $5000 but I love the fact that I have found an amazing Ob who looks after me and answers all my questions (even the dumb ones). I have suffered with terrible MS from 5 weeks. I called the office to see if I could get an earlier appt, he called back within an hour and went through everything with me. At the end of our conversation he had faxed through a prescription to my chemist and my drugs were waiting for me to pick up.

I have found so far that this experience is a lot more stress free. I like that I only see the one dr, he knows everything about me and that he will more than likely be the one who delivers our baby.

Good luck with your choice
smile

I'm in NSW. I'm going private. My obstetrician asked if I wanted to have my ultrasounds at the public hospital (it's a teaching hospital) or at the private ultra sound place for women. I chose public and haven't had to pay for any of my ultrasounds (I've had a 7 week, 12 week, 19 week and about to have a 30 week one soon). I just had to pay for the 12 week blood test associated with the scan which was about $85 I think??? and got some back from Medicare.

The blood tests, my obstetrician wrote bulk bill on the form so I hadn't had to pay for those either.

My antenatal checks with my obstetrician are $75.00 and get nearly half back from Medicare (this is the same fee as my GP). I did shared care with my GP last pregnancy but this time I'm happier because I don't have to wait in a waiting room full of sick people and I also don't have to wait long at all in the waiting room (as opposed to the public system where you wait for ages!!)

Also .... my obstetrician only charged us $300 for the management fee!!!

I wasn't going to go privately because of the huge costs, but my girlfriend told me about her costs, so I quickly upgraded my Health cover and went with the same obstetrician.

She is beyond wonderful. She is very thorough and lovely.

I'm just scared of the costs involved if I have to have an emergency caesarean or what happens (re costs) if my baby needs to go to NICU. (My first son had to go to NICU and I was public and he received the best care and didn't cost us a cent.

So I think it pays to shop around for an obstetrician. I have no idea why she only charges $300. Perhaps ask your obstetrician if you can get ultrasounds done at public hospitals and ask if they can bulk bill blood tests. I don't know why she can/does .... but am so grateful she does smile


Hi There,
We went private with both our two children. Our daughter was uncomplicated, normal vaginal birth. Our son however was an emergency c-section and then he had to get transferred to the Childrens hospital and was in NICU for two weeks.
We had to register him on our private health insurance as soon as he was born and this way we didnt have to pay for him at all. He was first admitted as a patient to my maternity hospital for 9 hours then admitted to the Childrens. Just have a look to see what the excess on your insurance is for children. Fortunately ours was nothing so didn't have to pay for that. We did receive two ambulance bills for him (totalling $1800 ouch!) but this was covered under our private too. We also had a few small out of pocket blood tests, ultrasounds etc from the 9 hours he was at the private hospital.
Good luck and I hope this baby doesnt need to go into NICU.
So I'm still not sure if I will be accepted as a public patient. It would appear that the hospital has "closed" for June births, but I'm hoping that as I was booked to have my baby there but as a private patient they will just switch me over. They have a meeting on Friday to discuss referrals/admissions and I should then hear next week.
I wonder what would happen if you just turned up to the hospital in labour - would they turn you away??
So my advice to anyone debating between public or private, make your decision as early as possible as it could be too late. I had no idea that your local public hospital could actually decline you as a patient.
Fingers crossed I get good news otherwise I will be returning to work a lot earlier than originally planned sad

i Have private health and went public with my first and had a bad time with my second i went private and loved it it only cost me the normal dr app cost and then for the ultra sounds all i had to pay for in hospital was the medication i had not thousands of dollars out of pocket

I think we are extremely lucky to live in a country where healthcare is superb and free! Although the public system is fantastic and many have positive experiences, I would recommend going private if you can afford to. Why? Well, firstly, you have continuity of care. In private, you choose your obstetrician, and over the course of the pregnancy, they get to know you very well, and you them. Conversely, there is no guarantee that you'll see the same doctor twice in the public system, let alone the entire pregnancy. Furthermore, you may have to wait long hours in crowded waiting rooms, and see trainee obstetricians, who may be very good, but may also be very early in their training. Secondly, access to your doctor is much easier. In private, there is the one number that you call, and even if you leave a message, you're assured someone will call you back. Whereas in public, sometimes it is extremely difficult to speak to the right person, and you may find yourself explaining yourself to multiple people without getting anywhere. Finally, and I think this is probably the most important, what you're paying for is the doctor's experience. You choose your private obstetricians based on recommendations and their experience. Of course, the majority of births are uncomplicated, which is a blessing, however, there are complications that exist, and to minimise risks to yourself and baby, you would choose the most experienced obstetrician possible. Unfortunately in the public system, the healthcare network is responsible for training future obstetricians, and so doctors are 'in training' whilst they work, so their experience is obviously less than qualified obstetricians. Of course, they are supervised, however, if it were me, and I could afford it, I'd rather go to the master than the student. Just one last thing, the public system is under-resourced and constantly stressed to their limit, if we can ease the burden, and at the same time benefit from it, why not?
I was like you ... despite having private insurance I couldn't warrant being so far out of pocket to go private for the sake of a private room

I went public but did shared care with my GP ... so my GP who I've seen all my life did all my checkups and I just went to the hospital to deliver.

DIdn't cost me a thing plus I was extremely impressed with my birthing experience and after care in the public hospital with both my kids
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