Saturday, April 5, 2014

How where you live can effect the cost of having a baby.

I have been in the workforce ever since I left high school in grade 12 so therefore I was never eligible for a Health Care Card and any medical attention (Hospital emergencies excluded) I needed I was required to fund myself. I was quick to jump on the private health cover band wagon to help me get that little bit more back at tax time and it sometimes helped in a small way to cover expenses. So naturally when I found out I was pregnant the first time around, scared as hell after hearing all the mummy horror stories from other women I wanted to have the best possible care I could and also to get a little of my hard earned money spent on our health cover back we opted to go privately.

At the time we lived in Kingaroy QLD, were about to move to Dalby and the closest private hospital that delivers babies was in Toowoomba. As I didn't have a GP at the time in Kingaroy I did shared care between the public hospital and my chosen obstetrician in Toowoomba.

This time around just 2 years and 3 months later I am 32 weeks pregnant with my second baby and during that time we have made the move to Emerald in QLD. I actually believe that Emerald is a slightly larger town then Kingaroy but I am absolutely shocked to see how much more my pregnancy has cost us this time around just because of where we live!

The hospital here simply refuses to do scans or blood tests, not because it doesn't have the facilities but because apparently they don't have to funding to provide the care. I think this is outrageous! Emerald is far more remote then Kingaroy and supports a wider community, I can not believe this isn't an option for all the tax and medicare paying, families here.

Just how the closest private hospital to Kingaroy was 2 hours away in Toowoomba, here in Emerald the closest private hospital is 3 hours away in Rockhampton. Throughout both pregnancies roughly the same procedures were requested so I created a table to help compare the costs.
Emerald/ Rockhampton
Initial Obstetric Appointment
$140 With Dr Kelsey in Toowoomba
$250 with Dr Etherington in Rockhampton
Obstetric Management and planning fee
Each antenatal visit with obstetrician
Each antenatal visit with shared care
Shared care with Kingaroy hospital- each appointment FREE.
Shared care with local GP- each appointment $76.30
Nuchal Translucency blood test
Free at hospital
Free at hospital (Was like pulling hens teeth for this to be allowed, was treated very poorly by hospital staff)
Nuchal Translucency scan
Free at Toowoomba public hospital.
$190 at Emerald Diagnostic Ultrasound
20 Scan
Free at Kingaroy hospital
$200 at Emerald Diagnostic Ultrasound
Glucose Blood test
Free at Kingaroy hospital
$168.40 at Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology in Emerald
Growth and Wellbeing scan at 32 weeks
$200 at Emerald Diagnostic Ultrasound
 After some rough calculations, not including fuel costs or accounting for medicare refunds my second pregnancy has cost our family $2000 more than my first pregnancy and can only be justified by the fact that we live somewhere different. It just astounds me that this one factor can make such a big difference in the already huge financial and life changing event of having a baby. I believe that regardless of where you live you should be entitled to the same care and treatment opportunities!

* Since publishing this post I was required to have a third blood test at $141, a third scan at $200, our anesthetist bill was $1300-ish and our pediatrician bill was $400. Fingers crossed that is all the surprise bills over and done with!


  1. Health care seems to be expensive no matter where you are. I know that Australia has it better than a lot of other countries but it takes a huge chunk out of the budget. And then, like you have proven, it isn't even consistent across the country. I had to have 2 c-sections, now that is expensive!

  2. Hi Malinda, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. In think that is the most frustrating thing, how inconsistent it is. My first was an emergency cesarean and this time around we are having an elective cesarean. I know what you mean!

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