Having a child comes with big responsibility, both in terms of time required and financial resources. The financial cost of raising a child starts even before a child is born.
In this article, we will talk about the cost of delivering a baby in Singapore. We will look at a few key cost components including prenatal check-ups, doctor fee for delivery and hospital cost. We will also provide a guide on how much you can expect to claim from your Medisave Account.
Prenatal Check-ups – An Appetiser To A Lifetime Of Financial Burden Commitment
First and foremost, we want to say congratulations! If you and your spouse have been trying for a baby, seeing those two faint lines across the pregnancy test kit will be one of the best feelings you ever have in life. Take some time to enjoy the moment.
Once you are done with that, it’s time to plan ahead. If this is your first baby, you may be lost on what needs to be done. Here’s what you need to know.
Prenatal Check Ups
The first trimester is considered the most risky for babies and unfortunately, miscarriages do happen. At this point in time, there isn’t really much you (or your doctor) can do aside from taking care of mother’s health and generally not stressing more than you need to about it. Take care of yourself and let the baby take care of itself.
Depending on when you find out that you are pregnant and the appointment dates you arrange, you probably have enough time for just 1-2 check-ups during the first trimester. If your first check is before week 8, there is a good chance the ultrasound won’t detect any heartbeat yet.
If you are making an appointment with a private gynaecologist, expect to pay about $150 to $250 per visit, excluding additional cost of buying supplements. If you include in supplements, the first two visits may cost you about $500 to $700.
If this is your first pregnancy, go ahead and get whatever the supplements that is prescribed by your gynaecologist. This allows you to know what it is that you are buying. Subsequently, you can find the same supplements or those offered by other brands from outside pharmacies at a lower cost without being worried that you may buy the wrong stuff.
Second & Third Trimester
After week 13, most private gynaecologists will offer what is called a prenatal package. What that means is instead of paying a consultancy fee during each visit, you pay a lump sum fee instead that would cover the cost of all subsequent visits within the package.
Package fee and coverage differs depending on the gynaecologist you use. On average, you can expect to pay between $1,500 to $2,000 for the package.
Of course, you can opt to pay a per visit rate if you prefer, or are unsure if you may still want to use a different gynaecologist. Do note however that to convince you to buy the package and stick with them, most gynaecologists will price the package such that it makes more financial sense to opt for the package.
Opt for the package if you are sticking with the current gynaecologist.
Some packages may include supplements, others would exclude it. If your package does not include supplements, you may want to budget a few hundred dollars extra if you are intending to purchase them from the gynaecologist. This would be a more convenient option. Otherwise, you can save some money by buying the supplements from external pharmacy if it’s not too much trouble and save yourself some money.
In total, a rough estimate for prenatal check-ups at private gynaecologist will cost you about $2,000 to $2,500.
If you opt for check-ups at public hospital, the total cost will be about $500.
This does not include external tests that you may opt for such as Down Syndrome test.
Delivery Of Baby
The delivery of the baby is when the bulk of your cost is going to be incurred. For first-timers who have never researched on the cost of delivery, the estimates may shock you.
Below are data taken from the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Some observations we have.
> For normal delivery, average length of stay is about two to three days. The shorter stay helps in keeping overall bills lower.
> KK Hospital (KKH) is the most popular public hospital. Average bill size for A Class ward comes up to about $5,168 (($4,400 + $5,936)/2). Mount Alvernia, which is the most popular private hospital, saw an average bill size of $7,779, about $2,611 more than KKH. This could have something to do with the fact that average length of stay at KKH is the shortest among all hospitals at 1.9 days compared to Mount Alvernia 2.4 days.
> For public hospital, if you opt for Class B2 wards, average bill size would be less than $2,000. In other words, there are definitely affordable options for those who prefer not spending too much for delivery. It just depends on the level of comfort and privacy you wish to have.
Delivery By Caesarean
Caesarean delivery will be more expensive. Firstly, gynaecologist fee will be higher. Secondly, because a caesarean is considered a major type of surgery, you would expect recovery from the procedure to be naturally longer similar to most other surgeries. This translates into longer hospital stays, which increases the overall bill.
Some observations we have.
> For caesarean, average stay is about three to four days. On average, mothers spend about one extra day in the hospital compared to normal delivery.
> Average bill size for KKH is about $8,960. This is the highest among public hospital in Singapore. That said, it’s also the most popular in terms of volume of delivery. Mount Alvernia, which is the most popular private hospital, has an average bill size of about $11,158. The difference between Mount Alvernia and KKH is about $2,200.
> Unlike normal delivery, where the bill size among private hospital appeared relatively comparable, the difference is noticeably larger when it comes to caesarean. At the 75 percentile, the average bill size at Gleneagles is about $5,794 more than Mount Alvernia. The average Singaporean cannot afford to overlook this.
Other Areas To Note
The choice of doing a normal delivery or a caesarean isn’t always up to you. If there are complications during a normal delivery, the gynaecologist may, or have to, decide to go for an emergency caesarean. This would cost you more than if you had elected for the caesarean in the first place.
Your gynaecologist may advise you to opt for caesarean under a few scenarios. These include if the positioning of the baby isn’t ideal for normal delivery, a low-lying placenta or if you are expecting twins, or more.
Other factors that would affect overall cost include whether or not you opt for epidural during delivery, as well as paediatrician cost that you may or may not be told about before your delivery. Don’t forget, your little one needs a doctor as well while he or she is in the hospital and that’s who your paediatrician is.
Do note as well that gynaecologist charge is separated from hospital charge. Your gynaecologist will quote you for the delivery but that may exclude the hospital charge.
So if you notice the caesarean delivery charge by your doctor coming up to about $4,500, don’t be too happy yet because chances are that exclude the hospital charge, which could easily double the overall fee.
Last but certainly not least, your baby will be charged as well separately (let’s not forget them). These would include hospital stay (for them), required vaccination(s), whatever milk or diapers they consume during their stay and any equipment they use.
In total, expect the total bill size to be in line with the figures reported by MOH.
|Normal Delivery (inclusive of prenatal)||Caesarean (inclusive of prenatal)|
|Public Hospital (Based On KKH, A Class Ward)||$5,168 ($5,668)||$8,960 ($9,460)|
|Private Hospital (Based On Mount Alvernia)||$7,779 ($9,779)||$11,158 ($13,158)|
How Much Can I Claim From Medisave?
To help offset the cost, the government allows you to use some money from your Medisave to help with the cost of delivery. Here’s a rough breakdown of how much you can claim.
|Surgical Procedure (Vaginal Delivery)||$750|
|Surgical Procedure (Caesarean)||$2,150|
For example, if you have a caesarean delivery and was in the hospital for three days, you will be able to claim $900 (prenatal expenses) + $1,350 (three days hospital stay) + $2,150 (surgical procedure caesarean) for a total of $4,400.
You also get to claim an extra $450/day from your baby as well since he or she is also considered an additional person. So if you stay in the hospital for 3 days after a caesarean, you will be claiming a total of about $5,750 from your Medisave.
Before we end, we think it’s important for us to stress that the cost described above assumes delivery without any major complications. In the unfortunate event that there are complications, specialised treatments and a longer hospital stay may be required and that would push overall cost to a much higher amount, even if you opt for lower class wards at public hospitals.
Top Image Credit: Timothy Ho
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