Heartland Boy recently had the privilege of witnessing the delivery of his child at KKH hospital delivery suite. Seeing Olympia slowly emerged into the world was truly an out-of-this-world experience. The birth of Olympia also signalled the end of Heartland Girl’s thoroughly enjoyable pregnancy. Now that the dust has settled, it is time to keep count of the bills incurred for her pregnancy. This article shall illustrate Heartland Girl’s cost of giving birth in a Singapore Hospital (KKH) and review the various government policies designed to help keep the cash cost of delivery down. With the benefit of hindsight, this article also contains some tips from Heartland Boy now that he has been promoted to the status of a father.
COST OF GIVING BIRTH- THE BREAKDOWN
Diagram 1: Bill Size Incurred by Heartland Girl For Delivering Baby Olympia
*Note that Heartland Girl had to undergo immediate post-operative care and Baby Olympia was delivered with the help of medical forceps. This unfortunately inflated the hospital bill and would not be reflective of a typical delivery procedure in KKH.
The total bill size came up to $12,741, of which $5,350 can be claimed from their MediSave Accounts. This meant that the remaining $7,391 had to be paid in cash. Thankfully, to relieve the cost of giving birth in Singapore, government has implemented various pro-family policies.
1. MEDISAVE MATERNITY PACKAGE
To help to lighten the cash outlay required for giving birth in Singapore, government has approved the use of MediSave under the “MediSave Maternity Package” scheme. This can be used at both public and private hospitals and the extent of the use will be subject to withdrawal limits under various categories as shown in Diagram 2.
Diagram 2: MediSave Withdrawal Limits For Different Categories
There are 3 categories (Pre-delivery, Delivery, Hospitalisation) which a CPF Member can rely on Medisave to fund the medical expenses. The various withdrawal limits indicate the maximum amount which can be claimed from MediSave. Amounts beyond the withdrawal limits would have to be paid in cash.
During the course of the pregnancy, all pre-natal expenses incurred would have to be paid by the patient first. To make a claim via MediSave later, the patient will submit all the invoices at the hospital where the delivery was done. As Heartland Girl’s prenatal visits and delivery were both done at KKH, there was no need to submit the previous prenatal invoices. This made for a seamless claim experience and Heartland Boy certainly welcomed the convenience. Another thing worth highlighting is that the baby is considered an additional person in the eyes of the government. Therefore, parents can claim an additional $450/day from their MediSave accounts for the new-born’s hospitalization.
While dipping into one’s MediSave may help with the cashflow, Heartland Boy urges all parents to be prudent with their expenditure as there is an opportunity cost to using MediSave. Funds in MediSave can be used to pay the premiums of your health insurance policies, other approved medical bills, and if not utilised, are earning a very handsome 4% p.a. in interest.
2. BABY BONUS GRANT
You can find out more details about the Baby Bonus Grant as Heartland Boy had written about it. Basically, a total of $8,000 cash will be dispensed over various tranches into your nominated bank account. A friendly piece of advice would be to pre-register for the Baby Bonus Scheme so that you will receive the cash grant at the earliest opportunity. This was what Heartland Boy did and he was pleased to find that the money was deposited with the minimum of fuss. Besides generous help from the government, Heartland Boy is also keen to share some tips on how you can reduce the cost of giving birth in Singapore hospitals.
3. CHOOSE THE PUBLIC ROUTE FOR DELIVERY
To qualify for the public route, the patient should first go to a polyclinic and get a referral to a public hospital of her choice. Once the patient is on the public route, she gets to enjoy subsidized rates from the government. This includes prenatal checkups, delivery charges and post-natal follow-ups. While there are cost savings, there are also several disadvantages of the public subsidized route:
You will not be able to work with a gynaecologist of your choice as you will be assigned to a random gynaecologist during your pre-natal visits. Some pregnant ladies may have certain preferences on the gynaecologist that they would like to work with. These preferences range from gender of the doctor, degree of communication, choice of delivery method, level of skill etc.
Similarly, during the actual delivery of your baby, the medical officer & gynaecologist on duty that fateful day will be in charge on the proceedings.
4. CHOOSE A LOWER CLASS WARD
If there are no further complications after the mum has given birth, she will be ushered into her maternity ward to recuperate and rest. The class of the ward will affect the cost of the delivery quite significantly. Therefore, to reduce the cost of giving birth in Singapore, a couple may decide on a lower-class ward. However, there are pros and cons of staying in a lower-class ward which must be taken into consideration. Here is a table comparing the various ward classes in a government hospital.
Diagram 3: Compare various class wards across a range of factors
5. LIMIT YOUR PRENATAL CONSULTATIONS
It is patently obvious that the lesser the number of prenatal consultations, the lower the eventual bill size would be. Here is a table illustrating the total number of prenatal consultations that Heartland Girl had with her gynaecologist, Prof John Tee.
Diagram 4: Total number of prenatal visits with her gynaecologist
If Heartland Boy and Heartland Girl had not been kan-cheong spiders, they could even push the first visit to Week 13. Not sure if this would be going against professional medical advice but their gynaecologist did comment that there was nothing much for him to check at Week 7.
Heartland Boy likes Prof John Tee for he only schedules visits when they are absolutely necessary. As such, Prof John Tee does not believe in selling any maternity packages. This has indeed saved Heartland Boy a bunch of money. Out of goodwill, he also waived the post-natal consultation charges as Heartland Girl suffered some minor complications with her bladder after delivery.
CONCLUSION ON COST OF DELIVERY
Readers should bear in mind that the hospital bill often varies as every pregnancy is different. While one might try to save as much as possible from this process, it is important to strike a good balance with the emotional well-being of the mother. This is especially so if the patient is a first-time mother. Beyond the dollars and cents of giving birth, there is truly no monetary value that can be placed on the joy of parenthood as Heartland Boy has found out thus far. (such as writing a heartfelt letter to your daughter)
This article was first published on The Heartland Boy.