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Pregnant and moving to Australia...

(27 Posts)
MrsCravendale Thu 22-Apr-10 20:31:45

Just an enquiry at the moment. We are moving from UK to Australia at the end of the year. We are also wanting to try for a baby but I am worried about the implications of having a baby when we have not long arrived in Australia (if it happens at all).

Can anyone advise on this? Like have you moved to Oz whilst pregnant and if so, did you have to pay for private healthcare to have the baby there or are you covered by Medicare? Would you advise it?

Thanks so much for any advice on this one. We can't put off moving abroad much longer but we also can't put off TTC as we are getting older and it may not even happen.

Ozziegirly Fri 23-Apr-10 00:04:09

Hello there

I can hopefully help you.

Firstly, Australia is a great place to have a baby, whether in the private or public system.

You probably have two main options.

1. Private birth. Over here, many people have private health insurance, and it can cover birth. However, to cover birth, you will normally need to have held the policy for one year prior to the baby being born, which I can see would be a problem if you were already pregnant when you arrive.

I can't see a way around this as a UK policy would not cover a birth in Australia.

You can pay for a private birth, in the same way as you can in the UK, although I believe this to be expensive (although not as bad as the UK).

2. Public birth

When you arrive, register with a GP (you can register anywhere, not just where you live), and they will get you into the public system. This will then mean probably giving birth in a public hospital or a midwife led unit. I have known a number of people who have done this, and all have said the experience was great, very relaxed, excellent care. Plus, it's free.

You will need to apply for medicare as soon as you get here, it's very easy, just pop into a medicare branch, there are plenty everywhere, taking evidence of your visa, passport, other form of ID (I think - I can't recall, but I know it was easy). You will then be covered straight away.

Before you are covered by medicare you would have to pay for GP appointments/scans etc, but once you are covered generally you pay and then medicare pay you a portion back (about 85% I think - probably more if you are low income). This can differ from surgery to surgery though as some will do something called "bulk bill" which means you don't pay and then claim back, they do it for you.

It's good to register with medicare asap though as you can use your medicare card as ID when sorting things like driving licence. I have found the medicare people to be helpful when I was sorting it out when I first arrived.

It's very easy and I have been so impressed with the health system out here, it's really great.

tortoiseonthehalfshell Fri 23-Apr-10 00:53:35

Where in Australia are you moving, MrsC?

helenwombat Fri 23-Apr-10 05:00:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cousinit Fri 23-Apr-10 05:05:13


What Ozziegirly says covers it all, really. I had similar concerns to you when we moved out here but Medicare is easy to apply for as soon as you arrive. We're expecting our second child next month and are going through the public system as we did not have health insurance prior to getting pregnant. The care I've received has been excellent; I see the same midwife for every appointment and she will also deliver the baby. I'm planning to deliver in the birth centre at the local women and children's hospital but I could have also chosen consultant led care or a home birth.

I really wouldn't worry about having a baby in Australia - it's a great place to do it. Good luck!

tortoiseonthehalfshell Fri 23-Apr-10 05:57:47

I've been here ages, but I went completely public option (despite having private health cover - the private sector has higher intervention rates which I wanted to avoid) and it was brilliant, start to finish. I had an excellent GP/Ob, I had excellent midwife care in hospital, I had wonderful follow-up care. My entire out of pocket expenses were $100x3 for ultrasounds, and the only reason it was x3 is because I had gestational diabetes and they wanted a scan for size at 36 weeks. I paid no other money.

The birth centre CousinIt is talking about is brilliant; I have friends who have delivered there and they've felt supported, cared for and empowered throughout, and had great birth outcomes.

Ozziegirly Fri 23-Apr-10 06:59:44

Agree with the above.

Helenwombat I think the reason lots of people go private is because of the rules around income and the medicare surcharge. We calculated that the amount we pay in private premiums is equal to the surcharge and the cost of my contact lenses for the year - so ultimately we get dental and all the other things for free.

I went private because basically I want a private room!

I have to say though, my out of pocket expenses are about $3,000 so not loads, but not that cheap either. If we're here for baby number 2 I would certainly consider the public sector though.

pepperonipizza Fri 23-Apr-10 09:29:24


Medicare told me that I wouldn't be covered if I had been pregnant before I arrived in Australia - I'm not sure that this is true, as it should be reciprocal health cover for UK passport holders, but might be worth checking OP, before you start TTC.

Agree that public health system here is great. You do pay for GPs (if you don't go bulk bill route), but I've found it worth it, and my local public hospital is fantastic and has brillant birthing/ maternity facilities.

Good luck!!

tortoiseonthehalfshell Fri 23-Apr-10 12:34:32

Ozzie, not to make you secondguess, but Flinders Med has private rooms - it's only W&C that has wards.

MrsCravendale Sat 24-Apr-10 00:38:17

Wow thanks for the response.
Great advice.
We are heading to Melbourne (if we can actually be brave enough to book the one way tickets before the visa's expire confused ).

I will have to look into the issues surrounding actually being pregnant when we arrive in Australia but I doubt we could afford to pay full private medical expenses...

helenwombat did you have any issues with this when you arrived 4 months pregnant or did they just sign u up to Medicare and you had your LO just like an Aussie citizen? We have permanent resident visa's by the way.. If that makes a difference.

Thanks again

helenwombat Sun 25-Apr-10 07:50:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

giagindi Wed 28-Apr-10 04:38:55

Hi MrsCravendale,

We moved to Sydney when I was 15 weeks pregnant. I'm actually Australian but had been away for 10 years so my Medicare had expired. It was extremely easy to get back onto it though - and in fact it was even easier for my English husband; he just needed to show his passport and visa (and ahve an address!) They give you a temporary / paper Medicare card until they send your 'real' one in the post.

If you ARE pregnant when you arrive, make sure you tell them when you apply for your Medicare card - they will ensure you are on the 'family safety net' which entitles you to various additional rebates.

Also, as you have residency visas you will be entitled to Medicare benefits even if you are pregnant when you get here - the 'pre-existing conditions' only applies to private health insurance.

We wanted to find somewhere to live pretty quickly as although you can register with any GP, I wanted one close to home - and I also wanted to know which hospital I'd be giving birth in! My GP has been amazing (she also bulk bills - which means that like in the UK, i don't pay anything for seeing her. If you get a GP who doesn't bulk bill (and a lot don't) you will pay a fee but then you can claim back a certain amount from Medicare).

I'm going public; as a PP said you need to have the appropriate maternity cover for at least 12 months. However, from 1 January this year the Federal Government changed the Medicare limits for private obstetric services, so whereas someone who had a baby last year, or was 20 weeks pregnant before 31 December 2009, got back 80% of their fees, now they are capped at $465 - which means you can end up being out of pocket a LOT.

If you are planning to go to Melbourne, you'll be fine in the public system anyway as the hospitals and staff in the big cities are fantastic - I'd be more concerned about going private if I was somewhere where the public hospital was a bit run down or suffering staffing shortages.

Personally, I've found the care here far superior to what I had in my first trimester in the UK - and I was in central London, with St Thomas' as my hospital! I had to chase for EVERYTHING - appointments, blood test results (which I didn't get before I left for Australia - grr) - and found that it was difficult to find out from one place what I needed to do when. Here, it all seems so much smoother. I am seeing the same midwife all the way through and in fact she will be on call for when I give birth. I'm under the care of an OB but will only see him if there's a complication... but at least I know he's there. My hospital has birthing suites, birthing pools etc, and provides great services like breastfeeding, calm birthing, etc courses. The average time people seem to stay in hospital is 3-4 days which is nicer than 24 hours I know friends have said is normal in the UK.

(A word about private health insurance. It's probably worth getting family cover while you are pregnant as that way your baby will be covered as soon as it's born. And you'll get things like dental, optical, alternative therapies and many hospital treatments covered. Importantly, you'll also get ambulance cover - which is NOT covered by Medicare. When I left 10 years ago, the average cost of a 10 minute ambulance journey was $700 so I imagine it's at least double that now. You can also take out ambulance cover on its own but with a family it makes sense to get private cover. AND, if you're under 30, or recently arrived in Australia - you need to get a 'letter of eligibility' from Medicare - you will only ever pay the premium of someone under 30, as long as you have private cover. The Government also has a 30% rebate for people who take out private cover.)

Sorry for the mammoth post! But given I am just going through it myself, I thought this info might be useful

littlepicklesmum Wed 28-Apr-10 05:39:40

Hello MrsCravendale,
Everyone has pretty much summed it up really, we were hoping I would be pregnant when we moved here 18 months ago, it has taken until now to actually fall.
We do not have private healthcare and have so far found the medical system to be fine for every need we have have (not just being pregnant)
Just get a medicare card as soon as you arrive.
If I can offer any advice it is to continue with your plans to move to Oz and do it, it really is the best move you can make, the rest will just fall into place. Good luck..

Poppysmummy30 Sun 02-May-10 13:04:23

Hello, I hope you don't mind me jumping in with questions but we are moving to Sydney mid July and have been trying for a baby for a couple of months, are we saying that even on a visa 457 I will still get medicare that covers pregnancy if I arrive pregnant? barrinf a few scans cost, and also if I use a public hospital?. I'm sorry to sound ignorant but this has been a bit of a whirlwind decision so I know nothing at all. Your help would be gratefully received xx

MiniMarmite Sun 02-May-10 13:13:38

Just marking my place as I might be in this situation too (depending on DH's job interview next week). He is Australian but hasn't lived there for nearly 10 years.

Cousinit Mon 03-May-10 01:24:34

Poppysmummy, yes, I believe you should still qualify for Medicare. We are on a 457 visa and had no problems getting into the system.

Cousinit Mon 03-May-10 01:28:41

Forgot to say that although I didn't arrive here pregnant, I know two Brits who have and have also had no problems getting treatment for their pregnancies through Medicare on 457 visas. As long as you are a UK citizen and entitled to care on the NHS it shouldn't be a problem.

giagindi Tue 04-May-10 06:36:11

MiniMarmite, if you get a Partner visa (temporary subclass 309; you can't get a permanent visa until you've been in Australia for two years on this visa), you'll be fully eligible for Medicare - my husband is on this visa and qualifies for full Medicare benefits. I'd been away for 10 years too.

Getting the visa takes a bit of organising though; our dossier for my husband's visa was 120 pages long, including his 38 page application form and my 10 page one. It might be worth looking into what you need for it and getting everything together to make the process quicker if that's what you decide to do! Hopefully if your husband's job interview goes well next week the company will help you out.

MiniMarmite Tue 04-May-10 19:04:33

Thanks for that tip Giagindi - sounds like I'd better start looking into it now! As you say, with any luck the company will help us out but definitely want to make sure we will all be able to go over at the same time as I am 10 weeks pregnant and we already have a DS.

Does anyone know what happens about the requirement for chest X-rays for visas if you are pregnany when applying?

helenv2010 Sat 27-Nov-10 21:32:22

Hi everyone, I have found this all very useful but thought i'd share my issue with you and se if you could advise. I am moving to Sydney (Im a UK citizen) in February with my husband under a 457 visa. Thing is, i will be 32 weeks pregnant AND I have been advised in the UK to have a caesarian (we had our first one that way as a result of complications). I assume i will be able to sign up for Medicare but will I be able to get a C-Section too? Helen

PipPipPip Sun 28-Nov-10 11:40:04

Hi there, I just want to say congrats and 'lucky you'!

I'm Australian but will be having my first baby in the UK. I've had fab medical care here in the UK but am jealous of you bringing up a baby with open spaces and blue skies.

Australian medical care is world-class, so please rest assured that you'll be well looked after even in public system. Good luck and bon voyage.

chloeb2002 Sun 28-Nov-10 21:05:53

Hello i had dd here (that was sydney) on a tourist visa.. long story and ds i was 5 months pregnant when we arrived and immigration knew as i couldnt have my chest xray and was pregnant at my medical. all my care was covered by medicare. Ds i had scans every 2 weeks from 26 weeks as he was big then had some complications and also had a fetal MRI at 36 weeks, .. all covered 100% by medicare. as long as your practioner feels you need the scans etc they are covered. you cannot just request extra scans etc.. but even now we are residents and expecting dc #3 we couldnt request scans! although again we get extras done.
As soon as both children are born they are covered by medicare alos, yet you canot claim till you have a passport for them... so you may have to pay bills , keep them and claim back.

Good luck!

chloeb2002 Sun 28-Nov-10 21:08:32

Helenv2010. like any health system they will offer you a Elective LSCS if your condition requires it. As you had one you will be offered another but also be offered a VBAC if it is not contra indicated as generally there is a shorter recovery etc from a VBAC.They will not force you to have one tho!

chloeb2002 Sun 28-Nov-10 21:12:28

chest marmite... as i mentioned above i was granted my visa subject to attending a chest xray after bubs delivery. It was no drama and was also free at this end!
Ive realy found no differnce between our reciprocal health care and full medicare. Ds has had multiple MRI's and tests.. all covered as they are needed while we were here. Now we have full medicare i guess id better put my name down for a new hip or something elective.. just because i can!

Lindsayt173 Tue 12-Jul-11 08:58:33

I am currently going through the process of the 457 visa with my husband in a planned relocation to QLD.
I have been following this thread and think you have answered most of my worries.
I am from the UK, and while not pregnant yet I hope to be soon, and should be be covered with reciprical medicare at little to no cost once we apply upon entering Australia? Is this correct?
However, the visa states we need to show proof of healthcare cover for Australia (I assume private) before the visa will be processed. I wonder if anyone can advise on the level of cover to get / which companies are the best?
I have recently been diagnosed with PCOS and do not want to stop the process of trying to concieve, does anyone know if I will be covered for a gynaecologyst through the public healthcare with Medicare?
I'd really appreciate some help, Lindsay

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