Pregnant in Oz on 457

(28 Posts)
SeymoreButts Mon 26-Mar-12 02:19:37

I've just found out I'm pregnant. I'm in shock, we've been using contraception very carefully so it really has come out of the blue. We are not flush with cash since moving to Sydney from the UK, and we got rid of all our baby stuff before we shipped our things here! Doh!

I've had a search through old posts and it looks like I will not pay for antenatal care with Medicare and the reciprocal agreement if I opt for a public birth? How do I book in with the hospital though? It costs me $50 to see the GP (even with the Medicare rebate) so I want to avoid making appointments with her if I can.

Any experiences or advice would be very helpful. I am trying not to descend into panic!

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savoycabbage Mon 26-Mar-12 03:36:00


I don't know the answers to your questions though. I was too worried to have another baby here, so I didn't. sad

You will be able to get things for your baby from friends and there are those baby and children markets.

sunnydelight Mon 26-Mar-12 05:15:38

I can't answer your questions, just wanted to say Congrats! Everyone I know who has had babies here in the public system - including my very fussy sister - has raved about the high quality of care so once you sort out how to access it you should be fine! If you look at in the pregnancy section there is a great article on pregnancy and birth options and a link so you can find your local maternity hospital.

DD was a "surprise" and we had given away EVERYTHING when I found out I was pregnant so you have my sympathy. Gumtree has a baby equipment section and Mothercare is here now if you're looking for new.

Iheartpasties Mon 26-Mar-12 05:33:35

Hi, I live in oz, I'm from the UK I had my first baby while on my husbands 457. I went to my gp and like you had to pay ~$60 and got ~$30 back on the reciprical (not sure how to spell that sorry) argreement. I had to get my referal for the scans from the gp, and then I ended up paying for the scans and getting 50% back. I rang the midwives at the hospital and got booked in at 14 or 16 weeks I believe this is standard. You might be able to ringh the midwives and ask their advice. Once you are signed up with the hospital everything is then free.

I am currently 8 weeks pregnant but we now have PR. I am trying to remember everything i am supposed to b doing!

I am on the northern beaches and we have quite a good forum where you could go on and ask for help with clothes and gear etc for a new baby. also on Facebook there is a buy, swap sell on the northern beaches page.

Ask me questions on here if you like, my brain is a bit like mashed potato though,

Iheartpasties Mon 26-Mar-12 05:37:00

um, sorry for stupid mashed potato brain, but you might be able to go to gp once and get all referals and advice on one quick in and out trip, you might be able to find a bulk billed place and do this for free, they can take ages though.

My friend who is majorly strapped for cash managed to negotiate her two scans for free, she told the scan place she could not afford to pay and she was sorry. with lots of back and forth they eventually have dropped the charges.

SeymoreButts Mon 26-Mar-12 06:17:42

Thanks for all the advice. It's sinking in a bit more now, it doesn't sound too bad money-wise then. My first thoughts were it's going to cost me thousands! I might call the midwives at the hospital and see what they suggest. My GP charges $85 for an adult consultation, I'm starting to think she's really overpriced!

I'm just about to trawl gum tree and I'll have a look for the Facebook page just to get an idea of what we can get. We gave away all our baby stuff because I didn't even have time to sell it. I should have shipped it since DH's company were paying, what a doofus!

Thanks for the reassurance!

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idlevice Tue 27-Mar-12 04:15:43

There might also be a local freecycle group where you can pick up stuff or make a request for specific items.

Although I went public we still had to pay around $2K for various appts, scans & tests as there were some complications but once you hit a certain threshold something called Medicare saftey net kicks in & after that you only have to pay 80% of all costs rather than the assigned percentage of whatever thing you are claiming for.


Bubbaluv Tue 27-Mar-12 07:59:37

Seymore - do you not have private health insurance you can claim some GP charges on?

Iheartpasties Tue 27-Mar-12 08:00:23

Shop around for a cheaper or bulk billed gp, and shop around for a scan, they can vary in price.

chloeb2002 Tue 27-Mar-12 11:19:39

Just get your gp to refer you to ante natal unit at your local hospital. You can elect not to have shared care ( so all appointments are at the hospital) that way all care is free. Your scans then will also be at the hospital and therefore also free. I had one bub on a tourist visa and one on a 457.. last one we have PR. no difference in either one !

SeymoreButts Wed 28-Mar-12 02:32:11

Bubbaluv, we've got private insurance specifically for people on the 457 visa. DH took out the policy so I'm not sure what it covers, I need to look into that!

Thanks again for all the advice. I'm going to see the GP fairly soon and get a referral to the hospital, I'm in the UK for most of next month so I'd better do it now. I've taken 7 pregnancy tests this week and they are all positive. It really is happening!

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Thumbwitch Wed 28-Mar-12 02:51:41

Bubbaluv - many of the private health insurances here don't cover you for pregnancy in the first 12months anyway.

Congratulations Seymore - may I recommend you also send a PM to Eralc as she had the same situation smile

Eralc Wed 28-Mar-12 03:14:52

Congratulations Seymore!

First of all, don't panic - it will be fine, and will def. not cost you the earth!

I got pregnant with DS2 about 2 months after we arrived here. I had to go through the GP to get my referral to the hospital, and had to pay for that appointment. You will also have to pay for any scans other than the 16 week anomaly one (unless you have reasons that you have to have a 12 week one - and they are pretty strict). My scans cost $120 each time (I had a few because of early bleeding), and as far as I can remember, you can claim back from some of it from medicare.

I had 3 options with going with the public system (I had DS2 at Royal North Shore) The first was shared care (you do some appointments at the hospital and some at the GP - my friend did this route because she didn't want to have to travel to the hospital each time), the second was midwife care at the hospital, and the third was group midwife care. I ended up going with the third - it's pretty popular, so you would have to get yourself to your GP asap and then phone the hospital to see if there are any places left - it meant I got a midwife allocated to me all through my pregnancy, and she was the one who also delivered DS2. I cannot praise the care I received highly enough - it was brilliant. I ended up with several complications in my pregnancy, and the consultants were also lovely. And the wards in the hospital only had two beds per room - bonus!

You won't see a midwife until 14-16 weeks (I found that quite strange) so any problems up to that point would have to go through your GP. Your GP does seem expensive - ours charges $60 and we get about $40 back I think. There are a few bulk billing GPs around our part of Sydney, but they are few and far between, and you often (unsurprisingly) have a longer wait for an appointment.

In terms of getting baby equipment, I spent a lot of time browsing ebay and gumtree (it's a shame it wasn't a few weeks ago - you could have had our cot - as it was it sold for $25 on ebay, so there are plenty of bargains out there!)

Sorry if I've repeated any advice from others - I haven't read all the replies - am packing to go back to the UK tomorrow (eek!) Feel free to pm me with any questions you have!

WillowTrees Wed 28-Mar-12 12:54:21

I had a (bonus) baby at RHW and it was covered my medicare. I would rather go public than private anyway because I wanted midwife care, and private is generally obstetrician led. I had 2 scans, most of which was covered by medicare, apart from that I didn't pay. I didn't see the GP, but had regular appointments with a doctor at RHW for checking thyroid levels.
I've sold loads of stuff on gumtree for next to nothing, definitely some quality bargains to be had!
Congratulations smile

Thumbwitch Wed 28-Mar-12 14:23:45

Seymore - I've just thought - I think I have a spare cot here somewhere, will check it out and get back to you if you'd like it. We brought ours out from the UK in the hope of needing it and MIL (overly keen) had also acquired one here for us (WHY???) so as long as it's still in the shed, we have a spare (still hoping this end!)

chloeb2002 Wed 28-Mar-12 21:17:56

just to add... eralac you may not have been one told me in my first pregnancy ...
1/ all hospitals have andas( ante natal day assesment units) 0r epu (early pregnancy unit) so if you have any issues prior to 12 weeks or your first ante natal appointment then either head to ed or ring the maternity ward at your hospital of choice and they will see you free of charge.
2/ all tests and scans should be free at point of care, so the hospital of choice or the hospital your dr refers you to. With Ds we were on a 457. I arrived 15 weeks pg. By the end of my pregnancy i had had no less than 20 blood tests and a scan every two weeks from 20 weeks. I had an MRI at 36 weeks. All free. If you go outside of the hospital system you will pay and re claim a percentage back through medicare. The reciprocal health care agreement states "all immediately required medical care for the duration of your intended stay is covered" Reciprocal health care will cover you for all obstetric needs as it is unreasonable to put you on a plane and send you back! It will not cover you for tests that or made by choice not on clinical need. So Yes I had a lot of uss and bloods and MRI but DS had congenital abnormalities and the information was needed, therefore it was covered.
Having a baby in the private sector is a heated debate. I do sit on the no way camp. mostly as I have had problematic pregnancies and would like to know there is a special care unit if needed and regular staff , not agency staff on the floor.

SeymoreButts Wed 28-Mar-12 21:41:52

Oh thanks Thumbwitch, that would be great! How nice of MIL, no pressure though!!

Thanks Eralc and chloe, all very useful info. I would be lost without MN! I have made a GP appointment today because the group midwife care sounds amazing! I hope I can get that. Chloe that's very reassuring too, DS was born with two totally unrelated congenital abnormalities. I am older now and obv wasn't taking folic acid and was drinking etc. when we conceived. I am quite nervous in that respect.

Thanks WillowTrees, that will be my hospital! Did you get group midwifery care?

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Eralc Wed 28-Mar-12 22:03:55

Oooo Chloe - I didn't know that - I went to my GP who referred me to a private ultrasound place - how annoying! Everything after I got Ito the system was free though (also had extra midwife apps due to AND - they were really really good). Your point about private is also very true - if you were in the nearby private hospital and needed a csection,they often transfer you to the public one anyway.

WillowTrees Thu 29-Mar-12 03:07:31

Hi, I went to the birth centre which I was very happy with. Two friends both went RHW and had babies roughly the same time with differing midwife options, neither understood why they had different care, but both were very happy with the experience!

SeymoreButts Thu 29-Mar-12 05:16:04

Well, I went to see the GP today and she took bloods to confirm the pregnancy, I asked how much this would be and she said it's free?! She's doing a few other tests too, I will be amazed if I don't get an invoice through the post. She wants me to go back next week to get the results and do the referral to RHW (another consultation fee), I will definitely be opting for hospital only care as I suspect the bloods alone will cost me hundreds!

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Bubbaluv Thu 29-Mar-12 06:09:17

Seymore, do check if your insurance covers normal GP visits. Mine does - worth checking!

SeymoreButts Thu 29-Mar-12 06:59:17

Thanks Bubbaluv, I checked but it's hospital only insurance. Tsk! It's just under $250 a month and I wonder if we will ever claim on it, since Medicare covers hospital treatment! DH had to take out the policy to get the visa, but now we are here and on Medicare we should probably take out a policy that covers GP visits too.

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WillowTrees Thu 29-Mar-12 12:15:52

She may not charge you next week because it should be regarded as a follow up appointment, and should be covered by the original payment. I think the only thing I paid for the whole pregnancy was the first scan, where they referred me to a private one, I could have had it done for free with the public one, but didn't understand the system (still don't!) so didn't specify I wanted to go public for the scan.

chloeb2002 Mon 02-Apr-12 23:07:04

seymore.. on a 457 you have to be able to prove you have medical cover. As a british citizen you have medicare... so you don't need private cover. We didnt take any out, still had visa approved. Often companies sell it as needed but it isnt. Cancel it and save the 250! Luckily we read up and contacted immigration and didn't listen to the company sponsoring us. I guess the point is that not every country is eligible for reciprocal health care but are eligible for 457. If you get PR then you have 6 months to take out private cover before they slap you with age loading.

SeymoreButts Wed 04-Apr-12 22:02:33

Chloe, did you get any ambulance cover? That's the one thing I'm worried about if we do cancel our insurance. I looked up ambulance costs and a complicated call out in NSW can cost as much as $5000! We can't get ambulance only insurance on a temporary visa though. angry

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