Aussie parents are paying 1,000 per cent more out of their own pockets to have a baby than they would have done 25 years ago.
New research from James Cook University analysed data from the Medicare Benefits Schedule from 1992-3 to 2016-17, revealing how out-of-pocket costs have changed for both in and out of hospital.
Researcher Emily Callander said obstetric care had the highest out-of-pocket costs of any service covered by Medicare, reports ABC news.
“Between 1992-3 and 2016-7, the largest average increase in any [service] was for out-of-hospital obstetrics, which rose by 1,035 per cent,” she said.
“Out-of-pocket costs for obstetric care in-hospital rose by 77 per cent.”
After adjusting for inflation, the 1992-93 out-of-pocket charge for out-of-hospital obstetric services was $23.35. In 2016-17, the average cost had risen to $265.
The 1992-93 in-hospital charge was $442.00, rising to about $782 in 2016-17.
Researchers found that out-of-pocket costs increased in all locations, but the charges were consistently above the national average in major cities.
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The research, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, calls for greater transparency when it comes to costs for patients.
“There is a strong need across all the medical professions for greater transparency of fees, allowing patients to make use of the free market system and choose providers based on value,” she said.
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