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giving birth abroad

(19 Posts)
windmill Sun 13-Apr-03 17:18:59

Hello, I live in England at the moment, but we were meant to be moving abroad. I'm looking forward to starting a new life but Im pregnant and am worried about giving birth abroad. If anything happened and my partner lost his job how would we pay for medical treatment? I understand that medical care is only free if you are working, when it is reimbursed by social security, so how will I pay for the birth or the antenatal care or postnatal care if neither of us are working and does anyone know how much it will cost. I will be in Germany.

morocco Sun 13-Apr-03 17:55:19

hello windmill
I'm sorry I can't help out with info about Germany but just wanted to offer moral support. The only useful piece of advice I can really offer is to always remember that you can just get a on a plane and fly home for the birth - it's very near, wouldn't cost a lot, you could fly even a few weeks before your due date and be back again a few weeks later. I don't think you would ever really have to do it, but as a 'liferaft' it might help you feel more confident. Also remember to take your E111 form with you - you could always claim to be a passing tourist who forgot her baby was due any day.

Has your partner's company been supportive of you so far? Maybe they have contacts for ante natal groups etc and could give details of medical schemes and how much would be reimbursed.

BTW I gave birth abroad but not in Germany and all went fine - it certainly improved my gynaecological vocabulary in French - cost £1000 for a c section (natural much cheaper).

Another thing you might want to check out is nationality and whether your baby will 'British' 'German' or any other nationalities you might hold.

Good luck

windmill Sun 13-Apr-03 18:02:59

Hi morocco, thanks for your post. I am worried that I can afford the birth, I will then have to worry about post-natal care and also have to pay for the baby's vaccinations. I am also terrified of flying, we are going by ferry or eurotunnel.

morocco Sun 13-Apr-03 18:18:34

oops sorry windmill - not such a useful piece of advice after all

When are you due to go and how pregnant will you be by then? I really feel for you having to organise your move and everything. Could you maybe postpone until after the birth or follow your partner on afterwards or is he very keen to be there for the birth etc? (I'm sure you've prob thought about all this already so sorry in advance)

LIZS Sun 13-Apr-03 18:23:11

You would need to check it out but I would have thought that the E111 would cover it regardless of whether you are working in that EU country at the time.(Presumably you or partner have paid NI after all). Try to speak to someone at the DSS about it or perhaps your midwife could find out.

I gave birth in Switzerland where you do need private medical insurance (non EU country), but this can still be fairly basic level if you are happy to use the municipal hospital rather than a private clinic.

hth

oxocube Sun 13-Apr-03 18:27:07

Windmill, I haven't lived in Germany but I have had babies in both Switzerland and Holland as well as UK (I am British) and they have been great. I understand your concern though! In both cases abroad, we have had to take out private medical insurance, (would have had to anyway regardless of pregancy). DH's insurance is covered by his employers, they pay 50% for each of our kids and we pay the full amount for me. There's no point in going into how much etc as firstly, I don't know how much we pay and secondly, I guess a lot would depend on exchange rates etc. In both cases, the medical insurance paid all costs relating to the birth and for aftercare, and all costs relating to the babies ie vaccinations etc. The only thing which was an issue for some people I knew who were pregnant in Switzerland was *where* they would have their baby. If you had a more expensive policy, you went to a very posh clinic: if you had a basic policy, you went to the general hospital which was still very good.

I'm sure there must be Mumsnetters who live in Germany who can give you more specific advice, but good luck anyway!

oxocube Sun 13-Apr-03 18:28:48

P.S. I moved to Switzerland when I was 4 months pregnant and had no problem getting insurance.

monkey Mon 14-Apr-03 11:18:22

Whereabouts in Germany will you be?

I would check out with dss or whatever they're called now, as rules change all the time.

I moved to Switzerland when 6 months pg, and had no probs. The move helped me keep my mind off it. The health care was absolutely excellemt, all the doctors, and most nurses spoke excellent english, and I had a much better time than when I gave birth in London.

Rules often differ as well if you move when pg as it's a pre-existing condition. I found I could only be given the very basic, minimum cover because of this, but it was still absolutely brilliant. Good luck!

monkey Mon 14-Apr-03 11:20:00

If you want a clear idea of how much it will cost, I suggest you contact the main hospital of the town you will be moving to and contacting them & asking direct. It will vary so much from one place to another, it's the only realistic way of finding out.

sprout Mon 14-Apr-03 16:31:28

Windmill, I'm not in Germany any more, but when I lived there the E111 covered everything; it basically corresponded to insurance with the AOK (Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse), which is the health insurance body that covers everyone who doesn't have private/separate insurance. The system has changed a bit since I left, but my experience with Germany is that no-one gets left completely out in the cold, or with a huge bill to pay - and the care you will get will be brilliant compared with the UK. Can you not try to contact the German embassy/consulate in London? They may not be able to give you information directly, but I'm sure they'll be able to point you in the right direction. Also try to phone the British consulate in Berlin or Frankfurt (wherever is nearer to your future destination) and ask them, too. They'll also be able to answer questions about nationality.
Good luck!

windmill Mon 14-Apr-03 17:05:46

Thanks for your replies everyone, I will try contacting the embassy and see what they say and maybe contact the local hospital as well although I am hoping for a home birth

Hales Mon 14-Apr-03 20:21:09

Hi ! I lived in Cologne for 4 years and gave birth to my first daughter there in 2001.
First I should reassure you and say there is no problem in getting insurance or in the care you will recieve..it was fantastic.

My husband and I were self employed and had to pay for our own health insurance. It varies according to your age and sex and various things but you have to have health insurance in order to register. We were with the DKV and they have a special deal for non Germans living 5 years or less in Germany. It is substantially cheaper than other companies. I think I was paying around 100 pounds a month or maybe just a bit more.

When you go the doc , and you can go straigth to a specialist wihtout having to go via a GP, the doc sends a bill which you pay and which is then reimbursed by the insurance company. For big bills though, like having a baby, you can ask the ins. co to bill the hospital directly. I did that and ended up having a long and expensive 2 week stay and my daughter was in the chidren's ward for 2 weeks , but everything was covered.

If your husband is employed there, he will be covered by work and only has to contribute half or so to the monthly contributions.

Having a baby was fantastic. The Germans do everything as naturally as poss and you can be alotted your own midwife who is with you the whole time from before the birth to 10 weeks after. You do have to pay about 120 pounds for this and it is not refundable, but I found it to be the best 120 I'd ever spent.If you are interested conatct the "Hebammezetrale" which has a number ..either on the internet or ask the doctor or any magazine about babies and birth.

I'm now about to have my second here in GB and frankly, would rather be in Germany! On balance I think the care and attention there is better than here!

I do know alot about this so do contact me via mumsnet if you want more detailed info!

Hales Mon 14-Apr-03 20:22:48

Sorry I misspelled "Hebammezentral" is correct!

windmill Tue 15-Apr-03 14:17:43

Thanks Hales, your reply was really useful. What I am worried about mainly is that it is such a big step and I am worried that he may lose his job. No reason why he should, but I've never been much of an optimist! I obviously wont be in a position to work myself so then would we have to pay for health insurance, or not bother with insurance and just pay for the birth. I have looked into different health insurance and travel insurance companies but they either seem to say that routine medical care and antenatal care is covered, or you can't be insured if you are already pregnant or you have to be insured with them for two years before they will provide cover for this? What is DKV? Do you have any idea how much the birth alone will cost, I hope to have a home birth but can you give any idea how much an "in and out straight away vaginal" birth will cost?

LIZS Tue 15-Apr-03 15:31:04

If you are looking for a higher level of cover than the basic try a company called CIGNA International, based I think in Glasgow, which have covered my antenatal, birth and all subsequent costs(immunisations, check ups etc)in Switzerland despite it being a pre-existing condition, although we only received written confirmation of this days before dd was due.

I don't think that travel insurance is really geared up towards dealing with routine pregnancies, and as you have found many insurance companies won't allow for it privately as a preexisting condition. However I think you would find that even they would still cover a birth in a state-funded hospital, and the costs incurred by your offspring, but if you then chose to go private you may have to contribute.

I'm not sure how a home birth would be classified - perhaps it is better looked into once you have established the basic rules ! BTW here in CH it is normal to stay in hospital for up to 10 days so it may differ again to UK in Germany.

Perhaps your husband's employer could help sort out some info for you regarding the health systems. Or is there a branch of the La Leche League, or similar, in the area to which you are moving as they may be a source of useful info too.

Good luck

oxocube Tue 15-Apr-03 16:30:56

Re homebirth, Windmill, check they will let you have one! Despite a previous homebirth in England, the Swiss burst out laughing when I said that was what I wanted and no one would take me as a patient unless I agreed to hospital birth. Got my own back though and after a speedy labour, gave birth in reception of a VERY posh clinic

sprout Tue 15-Apr-03 16:38:36

Can't remember whether home births are accepted in Germany, but all my German friends were in & out of hospital within a few hours - with the brilliant back-up of a midwife visiting every day for weeks afterwards. Germans are very pro "natural" (i.e. no pain relief) childbirth and you'll probably have lots of support if you want to bf.

LIZS Tue 15-Apr-03 16:42:34

Good for you Oxocube ! - I wasn't even allowed to walk around our clinic in a bathrobe whilst in labour. Had to get dressed again just to leave the maternity floor, even after my waters broke! Think they felt I might offend the sensibilities of their other "guests".

Hales Wed 23-Apr-03 12:49:44

Hi Windmill, sorry I've taken so long to reply..we are moving house !

RE insurance, I would strongly advise taking out insurance once you get to Germany...if you partner has a full time job it should be part of his contract and you should be fully covered.Not only is the birth etc covered, but any related illness or complications. My daughter ended up being 2 weeks in the Kinderklinik or kids hospital when she was born because she had been infected with meconium during the birth and that would have been very expensive if we'd paid.

A normal in and out birth is about 2000 pounds so it doesn't come cheap! But you don't want to be worrying about money if you do end up having to stay inlonger than expected or having a caesar or something.

If he is self employed you will have to sort it out yourself but this is not difficult. Health insurance is not as scarry as it sounds, in fact I think it would help the NHS alot if we had it here. However, it is something that Germans just don't thing twice about and is as fundamental as NI contributions here.

The DKV is the Deutsche Krankenversicherung whcih is one of the Krankenkasse or health insurance companies, of which there are many. Most are associated with certain professions and the DKV is one that deals wiht self employed people.

I would also check out exactly what you get on the E111 form.As far as I know it should cover you for the first part of your stay until you get sorted.

As far as home births go..that's not a problem. There are also what are known as Geburtshaus which are places run by midwives where you can have a home birht without being at home! They are kitted out like a house but with the expertise on hand. For emergency caesars etc you would be transfered to thelocal hospital.

when are you leaving? Iwould recommend you sort it out before or straigt on arrival. But don't worry the germans will not leave you out in the cold and the care you will receive is second to none!

Do contact me via mumsnent if you want!

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