Having cover for you entire family should be considered a necessity but when you have a newborn baby, adequate medical aid cover should be one of your primary concerns. The fact is that newborn babies are at the most delicate stage of their lives and need quality medical care. Unfortunately in South Africa, the best medical care is often within the private health sector but these services are expensive. Should your baby be born premature, have some congenital ailment or just needs to spend a day or two in hospital for jaundice, the fact is that these services are not cheap in private hospitals. Even out-of-hospital care for your newborn baby can be expensive with some paediatricians charging as much as R700 or more per consultation. Then there are all the other doctors, therapists, tests and medication. Newborn baby medical aid cover has to be adequate or you will quickly find yourself in heavy debt.
Neonatal ICU Costs
Labour costs and a few days in the nursery can quickly clock up a bill of R10,000 or more and without medical aid, giving birth in a private hospital can be an expensive ordeal. But have you considered the expenses if you have a premature baby? What about a child born with some congenital condition that means a prolonged hospital stay or even surgery? There are so many eventualities that one cannot cater for especially when dealing with newborns. Should there be an issue, your newborn baby will be immediately put into the neonatal ICU (newborn intensive care unit). They may be there for just few days or even weeks. It is not just about being in an incubator, with a heart monitor attached, on drips or breathing apparatus, depending on your baby’s needs there are a host of other tests and procedures that need to be conducted.
Neonatal ICU can be very expensive with some private hospital groups charging as much as R7,000 to R10,000 per day. This depends on the reason why your newborn is in the neonatal ICU and the charges could be considerably less if you baby is not on a ventilator and in critical condition. Nevertheless it is not cheap and it is an eventuality that every parent has to consider when giving birth. Fortunately medical aid is there to cover these costs at the NHRPL (National Health Reference Price List) rates. Medical aid cover may be sufficient for your baby’s stay in the neonatal ICU but remember that the doctor’s bills can still be above and beyond the NHRPL rate. You would therefore need medical aid gap cover to help fund the amounts above and beyond what your medical aid will pay for your baby’s hospital stay.
Paediatrician Visits and Vaccinations
Newborn babies need constant medical care. Even if it is not related to any illness, babies need to see a paediatrician on a regular basis to assess their growth and for their required vaccinations. Coupled with the costs of diapers, infant formula and baby clothes, you also have to contend with the ongoing health care costs for at least the first one and a half to two years of life. Many paediatricians in South Africa charge private rates. This means that they their fees are higher than the National Health Reference Price List (NHRPL) rates, whether you are a medical aid member or cash patient. It means that you can be paying around R350 to R700 per consultation and even more when you include the vaccinations that your baby needs.
Factor in blood tests and the costs of medicines when your baby is ill and you will be dealing with bills that could easily exceed a R1,000 at a time. Even if your medical aid does not cover the full rate of the paediatrician, you will at least be reimbursed a large portion of the fee. Medicines and blood tests are fortunately covered at the NHRPL rate so you will be fully protected in that regard. Medical aid cover for your newborn baby not only affords your child the best level of care but puts your mind at ease in knowing that you will not be burdened with exorbitant medical bills. Nobody wants to refuse medical care for their baby because of the affordability factor but if you do not have the medical aid cover or cash in hand, then you have to look at a government hospital or clinic for your newborn’s medical needs.
Immediate Cover for Newborn Baby
Your newborn baby is covered immediately at birth. You should have informed your medical aid about your pregnancy before you give birth. Your scheme will be ready to instantly cover the baby from the time of birth, even before you pay your first monthly contribution for the additional member. Most schemes allow you a period of 30 days to inform them of the birth of your baby and submit details like your newborn’s name and so on. However, while mother and baby are still at hospital, you can rest assured that all their medical bills are immediately covered by your scheme. Should you not register your baby within the prescribed time and choose to pay for the extra member then your baby’s medical aid cover will fall away thereafter.