About Maternity Benefits, Hospital Plans and Childbirth Cover
January 17, 2016
We cannot stress the importance of pre-natal care enough. Millions of women around the world are giving birth each year. And a significant number of these will have complications related to the birth. But not everyone gives thought to maternity benefits as they relate to health insurance cover or medical aid membership.
In South Africa you dare not give birth in most state hospitals. That is because maternal deaths in their health facilities are high. Giving birth in a public hospital can be scary. And the last thing you need in your life is to risk giving birth in an over-crowded, dirty hospital ward. However, this may well be your lot without a medical aid.
Without medical aid, childbirth in a private hospital in South Africa can start at approximately R15,000. There could be complications. Your new-born may require hospitalisation. You could pay in the region of R6,000 to R11,000 if your baby is in a neo-natal intensive care unit. Who has that kind of money to pay?
With such high costs it is important to join a medical aid before you become pregnant. That is so your membership will cover both natural birth or caesarean section. The Fedhealth Baby Programme for instance is excellent, offering exceptional advice and support. They provide access to their 24 hour medical advice line and funding for Doula assistance during natural birth. It also offers regular educational emails and following up on the birth within a week of the due date.
Maternity Benefits, Hospital Plans, Childbirth Cover – Full Cover is the First Choice – if You Can
Whether you are on a medical aid or not, it is important to start with prenatal care as soon as possible for the health of the mother and the baby. Research the different medical schemes to see what they offer in terms of pregnancy and childbirth. Maternity benefits are essentially the same among all the schemes, and if you have full cover, then you will benefit from having your antenatal consultations as well as the birth covered by your medical scheme.
Maternity Benefits, Hospital Plans, Childbirth Cover – Lots of Perks – If You Sign Up Well Before the Time
If you have a hospital plan, then you will have to pay extras. These may include as antenatal consultations, which you will pay out of your own pocket. But the medical aid or hospital plan from a medical aid should pay for giving birth in hospital.
Newborns are automatically covered on the parents medical aid at birth. You must inform the medical aid, usually within 90 days of the new baby. That is so they can amend the monthly premiums.
Joining a Medical Aid when You’re Already Pregnant is too Late
Take note that most medical aids in South Africa don’t cover pregnancy and delivery costs if you join them when you are already pregnant. A woman who is already pregnant at the time of joining a medical scheme has what is known as a pre-existing condition, and medical aids in South Africa impose a 12 month waiting period for a pre-existing condition.
It is also important to bear in mind that a number of gynaecologists for instance charge higher rates than what your medical aid will pay. These are rates above the NHRPL (National Health Reference Price List). To solve this problem you will have to look at gap cover if you don’t want to pay the surplus from your own pocket.
If you are pregnant and are adamant that you want to have your baby in a private hospital, you will have to save so that you can pay cash for the procedure, and then an upfront cash amount will be required. Check out the delivery packages that certain plans offer because for one single price, all costs related to childbirth will be covered, except for extraordinary care such as if your baby spends time in the neonatal ICU unit.
Pregnancy and Childbirth Require Excellent Care from the Outset
There should be no compromise when it comes to good care during pregnancy and childbirth and the solution is to join a good medical aid before you become pregnant so that you can benefit from excellent health care from word go.
All info was correct at time of publishing