An anaesthetist, who is a specialist doctor, will often have an important role in the safe delivery of your baby. This information attempts to answer some of the questions you may have regarding the anaesthesia services available should they be required for the delivery of your baby and the costs involved. An anaesthetist will be involved in your delivery if you require an epidural for pain relief or if your baby requires instrumental delivery (forceps or vacuum) or caesarean delivery. There are other reasons an anaesthetist may be involved in your care after having a baby, including management of bleeding etc. which are not covered in this document.
Patients receiving specialist care will generally expect to know in advance how much their treatment will cost. This is known as “Informed Financial Consent”. The difficulty in providing informed financial consent for obstetric anaesthesia services is that it is not always possible to predict who your anaesthetist will be or exactly what services you will require.
The most predictable scenario is that of a planned caesarean section, as the anaesthetist who provides your care is usually known in advance and your obstetrician, or their practice manager, can provide you with the nominated anaesthetist’s contact details so that you may obtain an estimate of fees. However, it is possible that you may not have your caesarean at the predicted time, for example you may go into labour early, and a different anaesthetist may provide your care. Due to this unpredictability and therefore the difficulty in providing detailed treatment costs, we have prepared this document as a useful guide to assist you in understanding the fees that you may be charged.
There are a large number of anaesthetists who provide obstetric anaesthetic services at Westmead Private Hospital, and the anaesthetists participate in a roster to ensure a 24-hour a day service. The anaesthetists at the hospital are not employees but are independent private practitioners and as such each determines their own service fees. Due to the various types of anaesthetic services which may be provided to each patient, along with the range of hours in the day these services may occur, the fees charged for anaesthetic services by anaesthetists may vary between patients. Therefore, this document can only provide general information. It is intended as a guide only and does not replace specific information given to you by your attending anaesthetist.
Similarly, there is variation in the health products available and the rebates health funds provide. Low cost funds and funds that do not support known gap arrangements may be associated with greater out of pocket costs than indicated below. The fee estimate guide below primarily relates to those funds that have a known gap arrangement e.g. Medibank Private, HCF, BUPA, and AHSA funds. Out of pocket cost is the difference between the fee charged by the anaesthetist providing the service and the rebates provided by the health fund and Medicare.
Fee Estimate Guide
This fee estimate guide is intended to provide information regarding the possible fees that you may be charged during your admission in order to minimise unanticipated costs. Table 1 is a guide of the typical anaesthetic fees charged for the most common obstetric anaesthetic interventions, labour epidural and caesarean section.
NIB, Frank, La Trobe, St Lukes, Grand United, Australian Unity Health Basic Insurance, Budget Direct have been excluded from the below calculations as they either do not support a known arrangement or provide a rebate significantly smaller than the majority of funds.
Many health funds also pay lower rebates for non-resident/visa policies. Patients who are ‘self-insured’ may expect to pay the total fee for each service with a partial rebate available from Medicare. This may result in significantly greater out of pocket costs than indicated below.
In Table 1, the indicated fee is the upper limit of what MOST anaesthetists at Westmead Private Hospital will charge. The out of pocket cost is an indication of the upper limit of what your out of pocket cost may be, based on what MOST anaesthetists at Westmead Private Hospital will charge.
On the table below, you will note that we have highlighted your estimated out-of-pocket expenses.
|Typical Anaesthetic Fees at Westmead Private*
||0800 - 2000hrs Monday to Friday
||Emergency After Hours**
|Total Epidural Fee
||$850.00 - $950.00
||$1000.00 - $1100.00
|Epidural (Estimated) out of Pocket Cost***
|Total Emergency Caesarean Section Fee
||$1300.00 - $1400.00
||$1700.00 - $1800.00
|Caesarean Section –(Estimated) Out of Pocket Cost***
|Total Epidural Fee
|Less Medicare and Fund rebate
|Balance of your Out of pocket expense
* These fees are an estimate only
** The after hour’s period is defined as that period between 8.00pm and 8.00am the following day on weekdays and for the whole 24-hour period on weekends and Public Holidays.
*** Out of pocket costs for patients in a known gap fund.
Most anaesthetists accredited at Westmead Private Hospital do not support the charging of multiple out of pocket, or gap payments, by individual anaesthetists or different anaesthetists involved in your care at different points during your obstetric journey. An example of this would be if you had an epidural inserted in the day and later the same evening you required a caesarean section, then you should not expect to pay a gap payment for the epidural and another for the caesarean section.
If you have concerns that the amount you have been charged varies significantly from the guide above, or if you have been charged more than one gap amount for your obstetric anaesthetic management, then please contact the Maternity Bookings Team on 8837 9279 to discuss your situation.