Expats urged to consider costs associated with pregnancy and birth while abroad

by Ray Clancy on June 4, 2014

British expats, especially those living outside of Europe, are being urged to consider the cost of starting or adding to their families as it is believed many do not think about the medical costs involved in pregnancy and birth.

According to research by Mintel, around 55% of British expats working in professional positions abroad are accompanied by their spouses and families, but many do not have private medical insurance and risk costly payments for treatments associated with family life.


A normal hospital delivery can cost more than $15,000 without insurance

For the successful expat, starting or adding to a family abroad is likely to be a common occurrence.  Although having a baby can be one of the most wonderful and rewarding experiences, it can also be one of the most stressful and traumatic times should complications arise during pregnancy or childbirth, according to health insurance firm Medicare International.

Planning is everything, particularly in the case of international health insurance. The potentially high cost of private maternity care and childbirth support overseas means that expat medical insurance is only likely to come into force once a potential mother has been enrolled in an international health insurance plan for a continuous period of 12 months prior to birth. In practice, this means cover needs to be put in place well before falling pregnant.

According to the firm all costs and treatment incurred which relate to a pregnancy before the end of this 12 month period are excluded from cover and if you are already pregnant before moving overseas you will not be able to buy international medical insurance to cover the costs of your pregnancy.

Assuming a normal pregnancy which runs to term, the cost of giving birth in a private hospital varies considerably, according to Medicare International who, with nearly 30 years of experience in supporting expats of all nationalities worldwide, has considerable experience in the area.

Problem-free childbirth in the Middle East would normally be expected to cost around US$4,000, whereas in the USA, costs are more likely to start at $15,000. Throw in complications, such as the requirement for a caesarean section and costs can easily rise by $14,000 in many hospitals around the world.

Medicare International managing director Debbie Purser cautions would-be mums to think ahead, particularly if they are having their first child. ‘Whilst for the vast majority, childbirth is a problem free event, for those planning their first child, the research shows that there is a heighted risk, albeit a small one,’ she said.

‘For this reason, it is particularly important to have appropriate private international medical cover in place early, something we recommend all families do preferably before they leave the UK,’ she added.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

XactExpat June 5, 2014 at 9:42 pm

So many expats run the risk of not getting medical cover or buying the maternity option. The NHS in the UK is now restricting British expats from ‘popping home’ for treatment – so it makes sense to get whatever expat medical cover you can afford – even better one that will cover you if you move back home like IMG Europe.


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