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Portland hospital deposit?

(18 Posts)
lynn1 Wed 25-May-11 18:56:14

I'm considering the Portland hospital for my caesarean birth since it will be covered by my insurance (and I was a patient there for 1st birth, happy with it.) I know a deposit is required at the time of booking and wondering if anyone knows what the deposit amounts to? I can't seem to find it in Portland's brochure about costs.

skandi1 Wed 25-May-11 19:28:34

They take £7000 at 32 weeks. Before then you only have to pay the consultants fees (around £2000 for antenatal care up to birth and then what ever the extra dependent on the actual type of birth etc).

HTH

lynn1 Wed 25-May-11 19:29:52

Thanks, that's helpful. My insurance will cover it but it won't be authorised until later, so I imagine that is my upfront cost. Seems like a lot for a deposit. Thank you again.

ajmama Wed 25-May-11 19:30:24

You will get a confirmation letter when your consultant books you in and it will have the deposit required.

BagofHolly Wed 25-May-11 23:59:06

Your insurer should cover the deposit, or more likely, give an authorisation number to the hospital instead. They deal with all the major insurers daily and have a close relationship so they can advise on how they manage it (just call accounts) but there's no way you should be out of picket. I've had 2 deliveries there via 2 different insurers and neither time paid a deposit. They swiped my husband's credit card as I checked in, but that was for incidentals, nothing else.

OhCobblers Thu 26-May-11 13:18:48

i think we paid about £2k upfront for our deposit.
First time round we weren't expecting insurance to cover it as a "normal" vaginal birth was planned but for various reasons ended up being an EMCS. Insurance covered everything as a result.

2nd time round, again covered by insurance, which they and us knew in advance, but still paid a similar deposit? confused

lynn1 Thu 26-May-11 13:36:49

fyi, I spoke to the Portland today and the deposit if you're expecting a normal birth is £7,500, if you have a planned c-section the deposit required is £9,000 and it's due 8 weeks before your due date. Of course, I'm expecting insurance to end up covering it, however that's the money required up-front if we go with that hospital. And we won't know if insurance actually agrees to cover it until right before the birth, as I understand. Which is why a deposit is required in the first place.
Ohcobblers, I'm wondering how you paid £2k. That's great, compared to what I was told. I wonder if there's another way to pay a smaller deposit...
Thanks for your input, all.

ajmama Thu 26-May-11 16:15:35

When I had my DS 6 years ago I was with the midwife team and back then I paid a £1500 deposit compared to the £7500 i have to pay now. I think the Portland now has different ownership but dont quote me on that.

QTPie Thu 26-May-11 16:58:42

A lot has changed, cost-wise, with private maternity in 6 years.

Lynn1, who are your insurers? Are you sure they WILL pay? I had coverage from Bupa (UK) and they were an arse: couldn't pre-authorise in time (despite having 3 weeks notice), took 3 months to get the money out of them, then only gave about £3.5k (towards costs of £15k). We were fine - because we were prepared to pay for the cost.

Your insurers/cover may vary, but make sure that you bottom out what you are getting into.

QT

ajmama Thu 26-May-11 18:18:01

QT is right an awful lot has changed in 6 years.
Portland costs have really whacked up as have consultants fees due to their insurance costs rocketing.
When I had a breech last time the insurance just paid up with 5 nights no questions asked but nowadays you have a true battle and they only pay a bare minimum. For instance consultants fees vary from £5-7000 and insurance only pay around £700.
As QT says unless you are self paying anyway and any insurance payment is just a bonus make sure you know what you are letting yourself in for.
With a planned CS, 5 nights in hospital and consultants fees we are expecting to pay around £17,000.

lynn1 Thu 26-May-11 19:41:13

Oh my word, that is crazy ajmama! 17k is high, and I'm sure insurance will barely pay any of that if at all.
QTPie, my insurer is BUPA. I'm had 2 conversations with them, but they have not officially authorised the coverage. I've been advised that they will cover a medically necessary c-section and that my case would qualify as medically necessary. I realize that means nothing w/out official authorization. The fact it took 3 weeks for Bupa to authorise for you frightens me. My consultant assures that it normally takes a few days, but I thought sounded suspicious since most insurers don't work quickly.

QTPie Thu 26-May-11 22:08:22

Hi Lynn1

I was so unimpressed with the way that Bupa handled the whole thing, I left them (after being with them for 13 years... well longer if you count me being on my Dad's policy for 18 years too).

My ELCS was for breech. We actually knew it was a possibility from 28 weeks (4D scan showed breech), but it was again confirmed at 36 weeks and I was booked for an ELCS. I was at John and Lizzies: I was going to have a private birth there anyway.

My ELCS was agreed by the Consultant on Monday 4th January (2010). Despite me doing everything in my power, the procedure was not pre-authorised by the operation date on 25th January. Bupa blamed my Consultant's secretary for not returning the necessary paperwork in time. But I did chase and did do everything I could to get it to go through. Specialist CS team, at Bupa, said "no worries, just pay the hospital and this will go through no problem after the fact". Bupa, supposedly, have a policy where claims are settled within 21 days of submittion.

Also note that Bupa do not have any documented "what is covered for a CS policy" that you can see. They say that was is covered depends on where you have the procedure done.

Anyway, I had the operation done and settled the bill (which came to around £15k): around £10k for the antenatal/operation/hospital costs/fees, plus about £1k a night for the hospital stay (I did stay 5 nights).

Then trying to get bupa to authorise and settle the claim was like trying to get blood out of a stone: paperwork got lost, the process got stalled (several times), no-one would contact me, no-one took accountability for the whole thing. After much much much (stressful) chasing, I FINALLY got a cheque mid-April! You would not believe the time I spent on the phone and the number of people I had to explain the WHOLE story too. Even when I escalated to Managers/Supervisors - and got names - things rarely got better. I would try to get hold of the same Manager/Supervisor to chase things up and my calls would NEVER get returned.... One Manager even volunteered that I should be compensated for all of the hassle - nothing ever came of that and, surprise surprise, he wouldn't return my calls to follow it up.

Obviously the "contribution" (of £3.5k ish) towards the incurred costs of £15k is miserly. Even taking into account things that aren't covered (i.e. antenatal care and a couple of extra nights in hospital), it is woefully insufficient (on a "fully comprehensive" Bupa policy....). Since we were expecting a private maternity bill (assuming natural birth) of about £11k, financially this wasn't a problem. However it is the principle of the thing...

I came to the conclusion that either Bupa (or the people who work for it) is completely incompetent and useless OR they purposefully try to avoid paying claims (by hoping that you will loose the will to live and give up). I have delt with Bupa on a number of other occassions and they have been VERY quick to authorise things: I am pretty sure that there is considerably more "heel dragging" with caesareans.... The whole handling of the situation left a VERY bad taste in my mouth. One medical insurer may be not better than another (we are now with Pruhealth), but I wasn't going to stick with Bupa after that. The last 3 weeks of pregnancy and the first 3 months of your baby's life is busy enough already without having to deal with a reluctant insurance company....

Excuse my rant... rather long!

HOWEVER, I think that a private birth (and post-natal treatment) is amazing if you CAN do it.... BUT:
- Be VERY sure what Bupa will and wont cover you for. You may actually find the Portland more helpful in establishing this than Bupa!
- Be VERY clear with the Portland are aware that you are a medical insurance patient (I may have been charged more since I settled the bill directly rather than Bupa doing it for me at J&L... not 100% sure about this) and find out what you need to do to ensure everything goes through smoothly and what you will be liable for if Bupa do not pre-authorise in time.
- I am not sure about your medical reasons for an ELCS and what stage of pregnancy you are in, BUT the Portland has cheaper fees the closer you are until delivery. If you can keep ALL prenatal care on the NHS (and just delivery and post-natal care through the Portland), then you will save quite a lot.

With my experience (admitedly at J&L, but my Consultant - Gubby Ayida - also delivers at the Portland) you would be pretty blooming lucky to get everything authorised within a few days (if that is all the notice you will have). Also remember that Bupa and consultant's secretaries do not work weekends (so if you were booked on a Friday for a ELCS on a Monday.....). However, with the right Bupa employee, the right Consultant, the right Consultant's secretary and maybe the Portland helping.... who knows. I could have just been INCREDIBLY unlucky...

So definitely go for it (with the Portland), but do all of your research, know what you are getting into and be prepared for the worst (regarding payment by Bupa) - you may be a lot luckier, but nothing nasty will take you by surprise.

QT

skandi1 Fri 27-May-11 09:08:38

We have private health cover with pruhealth. However given their past track record with settling payment for other treatment, we have budgeted for paying all of it ourselves and if pruhealth come up with any cash after the inevitable fight then its a bonus.

Its sad state of affairs really. I am starting to lose patience with the private health cover we have been paying for, for over 10 years now.

ajmama Fri 27-May-11 09:39:17

Oh Lynn, I feel so bad that we are putting a dampner on things for you. Have you had your registration forms from the Portland yet? I did mine yesterdayand they do specifcally ask if your policy is with Bupa. The lady who deals with registration is very helpful so it might be worth giving her a call. Also have a chat with your consultants secretary as they are used to dealing with these companies and it could be that this consultant has a good relationship with them. The impression I get these days is that these insurers hope you will get fed up with dealing with them and just give up. Hang on in there!

lynn1 Fri 27-May-11 14:41:13

QTPie, this is the kind of scenario I'm afraid of. I cannot believe you had to fight until April to get reimbursed from Januray. And the amount of explaining and re-explaining you had to do- this to me sounds like a (sadly) typical experience when trying to get insurers to pay for something they are reluctant to pay for. It's almost as if they want you to give up because it's too much effort!
My consultant assures me he deals with Bupa all the time and he'd have no problem getting approval late in the pregnancy. He also said that to ask Bupa for approval early (26 wks) would simply give them more time to find a reason not to cover a "medically necessary" c/s. So he recommends that he wait until 36 weeks. I'm on edge about this because after we pay a huge deposit to the Portland, I doubt I'd be able to get that back if I had to cancel. And if Bupa didn't approve, we really cannot pay for it entirely on our own.
Granted, there is 1,000 in consultants' fees & some of the anesthetist fees that will still be mine to pay as well as the ped. check in the hospital, which Bupa has explained to me they don't cover. I thought after speaking to them 2x, I'd gotten a clear understanding of their limits in coverage, but I hardly trust them now I've heard such awful stories.
AJmama, it's ok to hear the negative side- I'd rather be prepared for reality or for the worst in case. I haven't got the registrations forms yet. I will have a chat with the Portland registration when I do just to double check on things. Bupa claims they completely cover 4 nights in the hospital after surgery, but I need to be sure. It's true my consultant claims he deals with Bupa all the time and he knows the way it works. He claims to have a good relationship with them and I have no reason to doubt him (I've used him before and he came highly recommended to me). But it doesn't mean there won't be a glitch and the frustrating thing is, it seems I'll be waiting until the last weeks to know for sure.

OhCobblers Fri 27-May-11 15:54:08

OP the later posts have made me check my files and i'm talking nonsense!! sorry i didn't pay £2k - no idea why i had that figure in my head, must have been wishful thinking!

With DC1 it was £4.5k deposit for expected vaginal birth which we got back as Bupa paid for EMCS. I paid the deposit a month before due date.

With DC2 it was £5k for expected ELCS payable 2 months prior to due date. Got this back from the Portland within a month as Bupa again paid due to various issues.

HTH

lynn1 Fri 27-May-11 22:42:36

OhCobblers, thanks for that info. Sounds like you got reimbursed rather promptly, and that's good to hear. Certainly hope it works that way for me.

OhCobblers Fri 27-May-11 22:49:02

yes, pretty promptly compared to some of these postings! however, i did have to put in quite a few calls to the Portland's Accounts Dept!

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