Bupa has announced a pilot that will see new parents receive no out-of-pocket costs directly related to midwifery and obstetrician fees.
The insurer said the pilot is part of its ongoing effort to help address affordability and value for money in private health insurance.
The two-year pilot starts this month. It will see the health insurer in what it says is a first-of-its-kind partnership with Hatch Private Maternity, a group of private obstetricians located at South Brisbane, to provide a gap free private maternity experience.
According to Bupa, the gap free maternity program includes three appointments with a Hatch obstetrician throughout the customer’s pregnancy. All other visits throughout their pregnancy will be with a midwife and the baby will be delivered by a Hatch obstetrician at Mater Mothers’ Private Hospital.
After the arrival of the baby, the customer will receive two standard appointments at Hatch – one with a midwife at three weeks and one with an obstetrician at six weeks. Customers will still incur costs for services not directly related to the midwifery and obstetrician fees, such as anaesthesia and sonography.
Current out of pocket costs for maternity care provided by a private obstetrician can be as high as $10,000, making the option of going private not even feasible for some families.
Dr Dwayne Crombie, Bupa Health Insurance managing director, said piloting a gap free maternity program is one of the innovative ways Bupa is looking to deliver value for money for its customers.
“Whenever I talk with our younger customers they say maternity cover is one of the big drawcards for private health insurance, yet on average they have out of pocket expenses of up to $10,000,” Dr Crombie said.
He continued, "This pilot program has seen us negotiate an agreed rate with a group of private obstetricians that means customers face no out of pocket costs for their antenatal, pregnancy management fee, delivery and postnatal care. It changes and challenges the traditional model, relying on a mix of both an obstetrician and an eligible midwife caring for the patient throughout her maternity journey.
“We believe that this delivers the expected level of quality of care while allowing new parents to focus on their baby rather than worrying about a bill.”
Bupa said it hopes to expand the Queensland-based pilot nationally.
“One of the challenges for us will be rolling it out at scale. it's good to see though that private obstetricians are willing to change in response to community expectations,” said Dr Crombie.
According to Hatch Private Maternity CEO, Nicole Hastie, “We are excited to collaborate with Australia’s leading health insurance group, Bupa, to increase maternity care choices for Brisbane parents.
“Brisbane parents can now access high quality private pregnancy care with the benefits of a private hospital delivery, with no out-of-pocket cost for their specialist obstetric and midwifery care.
“Hatch is committed to first class pregnancy care for our women with the added benefit of no out of pocket Hatch costs for Bupa customers."