thread: Private vs Public

  1. #1
    Registered User

    May 2007

    Angry Private vs Public

    Grr! Im sooo confused!

    My beautiful baby girl i had in a public hospital, no problems what so ever, absolutely lovely doctors and midwives - cost me zero dollars

    Since then a friend has just had a baby girl in a private hospital, and i am cooonstanntly getting the 'bragging' sensation that they're so much better than us for going through private (sooo annoying!)

    I have always had private health cover (MBF), but not my own, just lucky enough that my parents still pay for me to be under their cover. So i am covered - but not DH or DD.

    I am pregnant with baby two, and don't know what to do! I am thinking, "gee it would be lovely to have a private room so DD can run around and be happy when mummy's in hospital". But i am constantly worrying about what costs it will have.

    If i choose to use the private health, but still go through the public hospital (therefore get my own room), how much will it cost me in the end - if anything?? My health cover will cover me, but not baby#2 once it is born. So does that mean i will be stung for everything to do with baby (jaundice, blood tests etc), or will baby instantly just be part of the public system that medicare and the government pay for?!

    Or do i just go into MBF, upgrade so the whole family is covered, and go totally through the private hospital? how much will that cost? and will i even be covered with the waiting periods? (My current cover with my parents is the highest one, but not sure if you still have the waiting period when you change over to your own).

    Ive been searching the MBF website for hours and can't find my answers.
    Im worried if i go in and ask these questions i'll be told that i have to use the private health if i have it (when i might not want to use it if its going to cost too much!)

    GRR! and the b*tch inside of me would love to have baby in the private hospital just so i can tell people that all of the drs and midwives were EXACTLY THE SAME as the ones at the public hospital. FOR GODS SAKE THEY ALL HAVE THE EXACT SAME TRAINING!!! Grrr!!!!

    AHHH!! please help me! I can not sleep i can't stop thinking this over!

  2. #2
    Registered User

    Feb 2007
    In the jungle.

    Since then a friend has just had a baby girl in a private hospital, and i am cooonstanntly getting the 'bragging' sensation that they're so much better than us for going through private (sooo annoying!)
    That is seriously their problem, not yours. If they think they are better than someone else because they had a private room, and a private OB, then i think they are pretty sad.
    If you were happy with your first birth then i would be heading back there. Pffft to your snobby friends!

    As for all your other questions, you could ring the hospital and ask. You don't need to say who you are if you don't want. And ring MBF and ask them. But in all honesty, i wouldn't let your friends judgement make your decision for you.

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Sep 2008
    Gold Coast

    Bahh to your friend. Did you tell her that if something goes wrong, its off to public hospital for you anyway. Thats how good the private hossys are...
    My SIL went private, her obs was on holiday, the middys delivered her kid. All that dough spent and you just end up with the same care as anywhere. In all reality, its a night or two at most if everything goes well. Do you really need to spend the cash??

  4. #4
    Registered User

    Jul 2006


    If you were happy going public with dd the first time, why not stick with that?

    I went private (private hospital) and it cost me my hospital excess, which was $200. The only additional cost I had was meals for DH. Having said that, each health fund is different and you would need to check what you are & aren't covered for. I know my dd was covered under me after being born, but I had to add her straight away after being discharged from hospital. I think I may have converted to family cover either just before she was born or just after. (previous to this I was under single cover)

    The one thing I found going private is the own room experience, which is good that you can do what you want, when you want. Ie: shower at any time, sleep without being disturbed by others. One other thing, I didn't get 'kicked out'. I stayed 8 days in hospital after having dd and they said I could stay longer as I was having bf difficulties. Not sure how that would work if you are a private patient in a public hospital.
    GL, you will do what is best for you & your family. Don't be bothered by your friend, she sounds a bit pretentious (sp)

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    May 2005
    in the national capital

    Hi tellytubby

    I am really really sorry to throw a spanner in the works but if your current insurer investigated you you would find that you aren't covered by them at all.

    I am guessing that you parents still have you covered under their "family" policy but I am almost positive that if you read the fine print it would specifically exclude you as you are married. I am guessing that you haven't changed your name or if you have you haven't made a claim since you have - that is usually how they pick up on it.

    I think that the best thing that you could do is immediately change over to your own 'single' cover from your parents family one - this will mean that you don't have to serve any waiting periods so long as there isn't a gap at all in your cover - and I would suggest that you do this through MBF as they already have all the paperwork. And then upgrade it to a family cover - check with them what the time periods have to be - most say that you have to have family over for 3-6 months before the bub is born for it to be covered. Your DH and DD will have to serve waiting periods for their cover.

    Once you have family cover then shop around and see what the best deal you can get for what you want is.

    But please don't rely on the fact that you have cover already because I really don't think that you legally do.

  6. #6
    Registered User

    Oct 2008

    I was always told once you have your own family you need to have your own health Insurance.

  7. #7
    Registered User

    Jul 2006

    Don't worry about your SIL. I went through the same issues with my SIL. She had her baby in the lap of luxury and I went cattle class!!!! This is how I felt at the time until I heard about how much money they spent. In the end I really didn't think a glass of wine every evening with dinner was neccessary for me, so I went back to public and I am going public again.

    BTW after giving birth I had a midwife come to my home for 5 days post delivery to check on bub and me, my SIL was sent home with a bill and nothing else..go figure.

    IMO if you were happy the first time then go back. I have private health insurance for my whole family but I don't have obstetrics included...much cheaper

  8. #8
    Registered User

    Jan 2006

    I have PHI and CHOSE to go public for all of my births. Initially it was to be a birth centre client with intervention across the hall if needed (home birth for scaredy cats ) and then because I was high risk. Then it was because we were trialling a spontaneous labour for vaginal breech. Then it was for a VBAC It would have been difficult / impossible to get these options in a private hospital.

    I also believe there is a higher rate of intervention in the private hospitals and with a private OB. Another reason why I elected to be a public patient.

  9. #9
    Registered User

    May 2007

    Ahhh ladies you are wonderful!

    Thank you so much for your quick replies. After I had DD in the public hospital, i haemorrhaged (?sp) and had to be taken into emergency theatre, it was midnight and it only took them 11 minutes from when baby came out, to get me under anesthetics and into theatre. I could never complain about their efficiency - 11 minutes - who could!? I loved the midwives there, absolutely amazing and don't get the credit they deserve!

    I see exactly what you all are talking about, if i had no problems, why change? No i definately don't need a glass of wine with dinner every night! lol! I think i'm going to take all of your advice in and definately go public. Its just the private room thing now that i'm wondering about.

    My parents actually pay extra for me to be covered under theirs, its not just under their family cover. My mum investigated it for me, and the man on the phone at MBF said that I am completely covered, married, with kids, moved out of home - doesn't matter - until i turn 25 (which fortunately isn't until next year). But i think i might pop in for a visit and have a chat about my situation - see what they say!

    I know i shouldn't get my friends 'upperclass' opinions get the better of me, but it's hard when she's looking down her nose at us!

    Actually i got a little bit catty at one stage and commented on the midwives doing home visits. I knew they didn't do it at the private hospital here and when she got home, she was saying how nervous she was to be out of the care of the hospital, so i piped up,

    "aww, don't be nervous! they'll be here tomorrow for the follow up visits!"

    "oh, actually they don't do that at the mater... once you leave thats it"

    "ahh, really? wow when i had Kaili i had 3 home visits from them, weighing her, helping with BF and just having a general chat about how everything is going"

    i felt sooo bad!! what a b*tch i am!!!

    and i really don't mean to offend anyone, whether you've had your baby private or public - it really doesn't bother me, so long as your healthy and so is baby. I think its just this friends attitude thats getting the better of me!

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Jan 2007
    in a pig-sty

    Just went looking for this one from a previous thread on this subject, written by Penguin:

    At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter whether people look down on you for having your baby in a public hospital. For starters, such attitudes say far more about the people that would look down on you, than they do about you. The most important thing, is that you come away from the delivery as a healthy mum with a healthy bubby.

    Continued media attention to the state of our public health system does very little to instill much faith for many people. The coverage of the recent miscarriage(s) in the toilet issue, Dr Death, waiting lists, ED waiting times, etc, etc, paint a picture of an aparantly sub-standard health system that appears incapable of doing anything right. Public hospitals, in general don't look as fancy; the food is generally worse than in a private hospital; and there's a good chance that you'll be sharing a room.

    The flip side is a private system with nicer rooms and food, and because you're paying for a service, the potential misperception that you may be receiving superior care.

    In the end, though, the quality of the care that you receive does not come down to a question of public vs private. It's far more complex than that, and is more a question of which hospital you are in, which ward, and the staff that are looking after you.

    I - and this is my personal opinion only - have more faith in the public system's ability to deal with emergency situations that many arise. My wife gave birth to our little girl at IGH in what turned out to be a middle-of-the-night Caesarian. I can not speak highly enough of the care provided to Ali and Emy while they were in hospital. That being said though, I've heard of many people having very, very unsatisfactory experiences in public hospitals. But then again, I've heard just as many good and bad tales from Privates as well...

    As rayray said, it's all an individual choice. As long as you're comfortable, and you and your bub are well-looked after, it really doesn't matter where you choose to give birth.

    Good luck with it all.
    Yeah, ok, my DH wrote that one, but he is much more eloquent than me, and can organise his thoughts into words so much better than I can. But I agree with what he says, it is really what you are comfortable with, that matters.

    We have PHI, but we have that for if anything BAD every happens to us, and we need an operation NOW, not in 3 years time with the public health system. Next time I have a baby, its going to be Public Hospital for me!

  11. #11

    Dec 2006

    Don't let your friend get the better of you. She is clearly only revelling in it because she gets a reaction from you!!!

    I went private. It is miles closer than any other hospital and it was fab. But don't get me wrong, i don't think I got any better care than in public, I just got to stay longer and had my own room and shower.

    And although they let the other children come to visit, they still stuck fairly firmly to the visiting schedule, so your DD would probably have just as much chance to 'run around and be happy'.

    Choose whatever is right with you and your family. Good luck with your decision.

  12. #12
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Feb 2006

    i too have PHI but chose to go public and had senstation birth and after care!! i was in for 4 days and could fault anything, like others have said if your happy public go public!!
    i too have a friend that scoffs at me having gone public, used a doula AND declinded the Hep B!
    she went private and ended up with a horrific infection and was readmitted, costs her heaps with excess x2, and her obs went on hols the day she was due (and was born on his due date)

  13. #13
    Registered User

    Jan 2008

    We've been paying for PHI for 6 years, but I'm going public for many reasons:

    There's a lower rate of intervention in public hospitals.
    I like the birth centre model of care.
    I don't believe you need an OB for your antenatal appointments for a low risk pregnancy.
    There seems to be a $1000 - $4000 gap for the OBs here.
    I trust the nearby tertiary hospital over a privately run business.
    I don't care about what my friends think about going to the 'best' private hospital, and having the OB that everyone wants.

  14. #14
    Registered User

    Oct 2007
    Gippsland, Victoria

    WRT the room situation. I had DS in a public hospital and gave birth in the room reserved for delivering twins. I ended up staying in there for the rest of the time we were in hospital. I had a double bed, a couch, table and chairs and the room was bigger than a hotel room! I know it's not the norm and i was very lucky, but sharing a room was one of the things i was worried about too. I guess my point is, you wont always end up sharing with someone in a public hospital.

    Also, they wont send you home early if they really dont think you're ready.

    Good luck hun

    P.S. Next time round, even if i had private health insurance, i would still go public

  15. #15
    Registered User

    Oct 2006
    Gold Coast, Queensland

    I haven't read all the replies and I don't know where you live, but here is my personal opinion:
    Public and private both have their pros and cons. Every hossy is different. So it would be worth investigating the particular private hopsital rather than just making a decision based on the fact that it's a private one.

    I personally don't think private hospital is worth it, especially seeing your easy problem free birthing experience. Depending on the hospital, some of my friends have ended up spending a few thousand dollars on their birth. Others have paid next to nothing. BUT, don't forget the high intervention rates that come with many private hospitals.

    Seein you had such a straightforward first birth, have you considered going through a public birth centre? I don't know if this option is available near you, but if it is, I can only reccommend it. I had DD1 in the birth centre at the Gold Coast public hospital and the care was second to none. I had much more 1 on 1 care before during and after the birth than anyone I know who went to a private hospital. Continuity of care maes such a difference (having the same carer throughout your whole pregnancy, labour and for 6 weeks after the birth). I am pregnant with baby #2 and am going through the same birth centre. I even have the same lovely midwife. They do most of the pre-natal visits at home, which makes it so much easier when you have a toddler to look after. You do go home roughly 4 hours after the birth, if everything goes well. So no need for a private roome. I like that idea as it will help DD bond with the new baby. It would be a good idea to enlist some help so you can recover from the birth. My mum was staying with us for a few weeks (she's from overseas), so she could cook and clean for me which made a huge difference. My midwife came to my house for around 5 hours a day for the first week after DD was born, to make sure BFing was established well. After that I had weekly visits for another 5 weeks. You don't get that sort of attention and support from either public or private.

    If you're interested, there's a link to my birth story in my signature. And if you're worried about things going wrong,, to my knowledge, most if not all public birth centres in Australia are within a hospital, so if you or bubs needs emergency care, it is right down thee corridor.

    All the best making your decision. Don't let other people push you into something you don't feel comfortable with. Having your child in a private hossy is not a status symbol. It is not necessarily better care. And it is a decision you should base on what you feel more comfortable with, not to keep up with the Joneses.


  16. #16
    Registered User

    May 2007

    Thanks for the replies ladies, keep them coming! they're very insightful and i think i'm very ready to make my decision, i'll just have to discuss it with DH tonight.

    Alipralli - Your husband worded it very well. I'm not sure why i let my friends thought get the better or me, and i guess he is right - her attitude says far more about her than it does about me! Thank you for linking his post to mine!

    Lenny - Thank you for that insight. It helsp knowing that the private hospitals are also strict with their visiting hours (so i know it will be similar either way with DD)

    AJP - With my DD i was in hospital for 5 days. And even when i left they actually ASKED me when i'd like to go home (ie. it was my choice! ) I'm glad you and i both share a great public experience!

    Treetops - I have heard from a number of people now that public hospitals have a lower rate of intervention. A friend on mine had her DD in a private hospital, and her DS in a public. She said she would go public anyday beacause they give you a lot more freedom.

    Madissun - Lucky you!! How lucky is that with the room situation! Gee i hope i'm that lucky with baby number two! it would be lovely!

    Sasa - I have a couple of mates who have also had their baby in the birth centre (yep, there surely is one here - probably 20 metres from the hospital). I think i might look into it, the more i hear of them - they are always only good stories.

    You ladies have really eased my mind! I really really really appeciate it!
    I think i'm just going to be the better person, and ignore my friend with the snotty attitude. I wont bite! hahaha (as hard as it is at times.. i'm going to be the better person!) I enjoyed my birth/pregnancy/aftercare with the public system with DD and i'm positive i'll enjoy it again with baby number two!!

  17. #17
    Registered User

    Dec 2006

    I had DD in a private hospital and I am glad I did. She was born 6 weeks early by emgerncy c/s as she was breech and my waters broke, she was in the special care nursery for three weeks and wasn't sent to another hospital. They were fantastic, and were happy for me to ring up whenever I needed advice when I finally got her home. If she had arrived on time I could have gone home and had visits by a midwife so some private hospitals do offer that service.

    We found a great peadatrician at the hospital but I also know that my ob and pead go to a public hospital so I am sure you could get the same care but I liked the privacy of my own room and I have observed first hand that the closet public hospital isn't the best, they seemed to have intervened earlier with two people that I know than what they would have liked one was induced and the other had a cs.

    They are also supporting me with my decision to have a VBAC, I started to go into labour last week at 35 weeks and I had the choice to wait and see what happens or have another cs so I know they don't force you to go against your wishes. I am meds to stop the contractions as my cervix is closed and that is all they have done.

  18. #18
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Feb 2006

    i wouldnt worry about sharing a room either! i have both times been in a 4 bed ward, last time had the ward to myself so heaps of room, this time i made friends with the other 3 girls and were all catching up soon!!! we chatted, cried together, it really was lovely having others to talk too!!