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.”
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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.
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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