San delivers baby bonus to new parents

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Some of the obstetricians who are participants in the Swaddle-San Baby Bundle package.

In an Australian first, Sydney Adventist Hospital and health insurance fund HCF have joined forces to offer a “no-gap” package that will save expectant parents thousands of dollars.

The Swaddle-San Baby Bundle guarantees expectant parents, who are eligible HCF members, zero out-of-pocket expenses for ultrasounds, pathology or hospital services, including obstetrician, anaesthetist and paediatrician costs.

Swaddle is the result of months of negotiation between the San, HCF, a majority of the San’s obstetricians, paediatricians, anaesthetists and ultrasound providers.

“Financial uncertainty can be a major concern for new parents-to-be,” San obstetrician Dr Peter Wood said.

“Even though they know from the beginning what my costs are, there are many other uncertain costs that are not able to be guaranteed at the beginning.”

Mum-to-be Stefanie Bessen agrees. With her first baby due in less than two weeks, Ms Bessen was pleasantly surprised to hear she can expect to save $A4000—$6000, admitting the costs of just preparing for her baby’s arrival have been daunting.

“A cot, pram, change table, car seat, they’re all essential items that we need to get,” she said. “We started budgeting as soon as we planned to have a baby knowing I’d ultimately take time off.

“The costs have already been mounting and that’s before the baby arrives when we’ll need nappies, clothes and medicines and who knows what else.”

San obstetrician Dr Peter Wood with expectant mums Katherine Triebel (with daughter Anastasia) and Stefanie Bessen.

Obstetrician Dr Andrew Booker, who has delivered more than 3700 babies in his 15 years at the San, said he was motivated to join the new package because the close bond that develops during pregnancy gives him an insight into families.

“Obstetrics and gynaecology is often a lifelong relationship as you look after women before they are pregnant, during pregnancy and after pregnancy,” he said.

“Over many years you develop great friendships with your patients and with their entire families.

“I’ve seen that often during pregnancies and particularly first pregnancies, people are often doing other financially stressful things.

“So to be able to contain their obstetrics costs where they pay absolutely nothing out-of-pocket will be really helpful for the families to plan and not give them any unexpected surprises. I think it’s brilliant.”

Hospital CEO Brett Goods said the San is the first private hospital in Australia to offer the no-gap obstetrics package.

“As NSW’s largest private and not-for-profit hospital, which has been delivering babies for our community since 1903, the San is committed to delivering world-class care across the entire pregnancy journey,” he said.

“We believe this Australian-first initiative will make it even more compelling for families to choose the San as the best place to welcome their newborn baby into the world.”