thread: Migrating to Melbourne and currently pregnant!

  1. #1
    Registered User

    Jan 2008

    Exclamation Migrating to Melbourne and currently pregnant!

    Hi There

    My hubby has just accepted a civil service job in Melbourne and, all things going okay with the visa etc, we'll be there in a few months.

    We're both really excited, but a little bit worried about maternity care and how things might differ from here. It's our first baby, so we have nothing to compare it to, but in the UK we have completely free healthcare for expectant mothers, nobody charges us to have our babies and we also get excellent care after the baby is born.

    We're not sure whether we will be entitled to Medicare (depends on whether we get a temporary or permanent visa) and are aware that, in normal circumstances in Australia, you can often not claim on our privarte health insurance unless you've been covered for 12 months.

    So, we now need to find out what we need to pay for and when!

    Has anyone here been in a similar situation or do they know if it's possible to be treated in a public hospital, but paying rather than free? Is it cheaper to do this rather than go private and pay?

    By the time we go, I will be coming up to full term and will have had all my scans and most of my ante-natal appointments, so I don't think I need to worry about those, but we just don't know what to expect in Australia!

    Yours in excited trepidation,

  2. #2
    Registered User

    Nov 2006

    Welcome to Melbourne! To be honest I'm not really sure what the exact rules are but if you've been here a while, then public is free and private is not - basically!! there are quite a few diff options like shared care and I think you're right about private - you need to have it for 12 mnthe before hand. My friend went public all the way and didn't pay anything where as I went private and paid for pretty much everything - scans, tests, appointments etc. Did get my own room and ob though which was ace.

    Where are you living in Melb and what hospital have you chose? maybe you can call them and ask their opinion. good luck!

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Follow Pandora On Twitter

    Jan 2005

    The public system in Melbourne is very good. I have full private cover but chose to go through the public system when I had my son and would do it again in a heartbeat.
    How pregnant are you?
    I'm not sure how much it would cost to go to a public hospital with no medicare cover, but private would cost more. Add to that the private obstetrics costs (there are seperate chaerges fro private obstetricians in addition to your hospital stay)
    Under the public system some of the options you can choose are to see an OB, OB& midwife, GP and midmife or team midwifery with only needing to see an OB on a few occasions.

  4. #4
    Registered User

    Jun 2007
    Port Stevens NSW

    If your not covered by medicare you'll end up having to pay to go to the public hospital to birth too, might be worth looking at the cost of birth centers, private midwife or home births as well.
    I'm booked into the St Vincents private in the city (Melbourne) which I had to book early in the pregnancy but that doesn't help you with cost sorry
    My SIL just had a baby in QLD and she's not an Aus citizen, she had to pay for the OB and her hospital birth/stay in a private hospital and It cost her about $5,000

  5. #5
    Registered User

    Jul 2007

    Where do you think you will be living??

    Approx hopsital stay in public hospital with no insurnace is about $600 i think per day and if you need a ceaser or epidural or baby needs special care it can cost more. Dont know if prices etc are right but generally you will pay a lump sum and they will give you money back if you dont utilise it all.

    Good luck with the move and pregnancy

  6. #6
    Jodie259 Guest

    Australia & the UK have reciprocal medical.

    I lived in UK for 3 years - and never paid for any medical - including a hospital stay & physio after a car accident.

    So... if you go public - you should be covered. If you want private hospital/doctor - it will cost you.

    You might want to check out the medicare website - and I would recommend that you email them to confirm. (there is a "contact us" link at the top right corner of the webpage)
    this is their website - in particular about migrants/visitors:
    Visitors to Australia - United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Malta and Italy - Medicare Australia

    If you are a resident of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway or the Netherlands you are covered for the duration of your approved visit to Australia.
    but then...
    Reciprocal health care agreements cover treatment that is medically necessary. Medically necessary treatment means any ill-health or injury which occurs while you are in Australia and requires treatment before you return home.
    so... pregnancy may not be covered as it is not ill-health or injury...??
    But then... it is on the "not covered" list either....
    I would email medicare and ask.

    If you need to pay for medical... you may be up for a LOT of $$$... even if it's through the public health system.

    I hope that you will be covered by medicare. And congratulations on being pregnant. And you will LOVE melbourne (although I'm a bit biased )

  7. #7
    Registered User

    Jan 2008

    Hi all and thanks for the replies!

    I should have made it clearer that we are not in Melbourne yet - should be by April. The baby is due 2nd June and I'm currently 18 weeks (though most annoyingly not looking it!!).

    We're likely to live out Geelong way as it's easy access for my hubby to get to work and we reckon rental and house prices are a little less. I know that there is a public hospital in Geelong and I think our best bet is to give them a call and ask.

    Have tried the Medicare website and also the Department of Immigration and Citizenship site, but other than the reciprocal agreement for illness and injury, I can't see anything else helpful.

    I figured a public hospital would accept us but we'd have to pay (I'm assuming that they won't turn a woman in labour away!!) and wonder if the reciprocal agreement would cover any issues such as c-sections? Sooo many questions!!

    Will give Geelong hospital a call later this evening, when it's early morning Melbourne time, and let you all know

  8. #8
    Registered User

    Aug 2005
    Melbourne, Victoria

    I can tell you my doctor charges $1500 for the big fee if you don't have private insurance or medicare (I paid about $30 once i claimed mine back), and there was also $60 each visit (probably around 8 to 10 in total during pregnancy).

    I just got the letter from the health fund on how much they paid the hospital, almost $4500 for 4 nights & the labour ward.

    So from that if you had nothing you would be looking at around $6000 in total (plus doctors visits during pregnancy).

    I looked into going public as a semi-private patient (i.e. in a public hospital but with my doctor), but you still had to pay bed costs, which were only like $200 less per night. At that price i would think about just paying and going private.

    Good luck, but i would call medicare and see if you can get coverage first before making any decisions.

  9. #9
    Registered User

    Nov 2006

    Hi, I understand the reciprocal health care agreement will mean you are covered by Medicare like you are an Aus citizen. Worth checking though. I would also make contact with the local hospital where you expect to live so they know of you in advance and can book you in and arrange you to be seen when you arrive to put all the notes together. Oh, and get copies of all your notes from the UK so you can bring them with you - saves time and trouble repeating tests etc when you get here.

    PS Victoria is a great place ot live, hope you enjoy it, and welcome!