Maternity services in private hospitals have expanded both in price and in luxury.
This was borne out in two separate surveys conducted by the Consumer Council on maternity packages in private hospitals in 2002 and 2010 respectively.
According to the surveys, a basic maternity package, for normal delivery, has gone up by mostly over 10% to nearly 50% in price since 2002.
The increase, in many cases, reflects an upgrade in both facilities and scope of service.
Increasingly the market has seen a new supply of luxury maternity packages to cater to the needs of the well-to-do.
As revealed in the latest survey, there is now a wide selection of deluxe maternity packages that compete on the size of the private suite and the range and grade of the facilities provided.
For this new breed of super luxury packages, it is not surprising to find prices well over $100,000 (for 4-day plan). The prices surge up even further for caesarean packages to well over $200,000 (for 5-day plan). Indeed they are in a class of their own exclusively for the privileged few.
None of these package cover the fees of the obstetrician or anaesthetists. Nor do they cover, in the event of special treatment, expenses of extra laboratory tests, medications, equipment, investigations and nursing procedures, etc.
Also not necessarily included are: meals and use of forceps or vacuum delivery ($550 to $1,000), epidural analgesia or spinal anaesthesia during labour ($2,200 to $10,000).
There will also be additional charges, for instance, for caesarean section carried out at specified time. The practice of charge may vary from one hospital to another.
Consumers are advised to consult both the doctor-in-charge and the private hospital concerned for detailed information on charges, and it will be prudent of them to do their budget well as the total bills can come to a staggering sum.
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