HBF launches new program to reduce gap fees for expectant mothers

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HBF has announced a new 'One For Women' program for members it says will bring all required health services from specialists together, meaning one continuous, centrally co-ordinated stream of care during pregnancy and after new mothers return home.

HBF said arrangements between it and select private hospitals (Joondalup Health Campus, St John of God Mt Lawley and St John of God Murdoch) aim to limit out-of-pocket expenses for its members who hold pregnancy and birth cover (excluding Overseas Visitors Cover), have served relevant waiting periods and meet One For Women's clinical eligibility criteria.

The pilot program will enable expectant mothers who meet the above requirements to receive:

  • Two antenatal classes and up to four postnatal classes as part of a ‘fourth trimester’ education and support package with no out-of-pocket costs;
  • Bulk-billed standard antenatal consultations with midwives and GP obstetricians; and
  • Delivery of their baby in one of the above private hospitals (with the One For Women obstetrician on call at the time of birth) with no or reduced out-of-pocket costs depending on the mother's hospital cover and the individual circumstances.

HBF chief executive John Van Der Wielen said costs for maternity care had risen in recent years and this model would make private maternity care more affordable for eligible families.

“This means even greater value for our members – we’ve heard their feedback that large out-of-pocket costs for obstetricians are one of the main reasons they would opt to deliver in a public hospital,” he said.

One For Women Medical Director Dr Stuart Prosser said eligible expectant mothers would be able to access different services from diverse providers in one location.

“One For Women will provide a continuous and centrally co-ordinated journey of care, with the patient able to seamlessly access services from a range of experienced health professionals and give birth in a private hospital with all the associated benefits with no or lower out-of-pocket costs,” he said.

One For Women patients receive:

  • Access to a private hospital room;
  • More time in hospital (compared to the public health system); and
  • Access to optional extras such as a daily newspaper, local phone calls, and free-to-air TV.