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Private vs. Public hospital for pregnancy checkups

Question

My wife has recently discovered that she's pregnant, and we are looking for a good OBGYN to follow-up with.
We started with the public hospital at Etterbeek - Ixelles of the Hôpitaux Iris Sud system, which is quite close and had been reliable for our previous health needs.
However, this time when we went we realized the hospital had only one blood-draw area which was used to BOTH general patients AND asymptomatic COVID-19 tests. In addition, the doctor we visited seemed to have a bit of trouble communicating in English--she was polite and professional, but had trouble delivering lifestyle and dietary advice or answering our questions, which was an issue since this will be our first baby.
This and the COVID situation prompted us to look into the Chirec Delta hospital which is also nearby. My wife does not have hospitalization insurance (she'd actually had it for years, but forgot to pay this year amidst the COVID confusion!), and from what we hear hospitalization costs for natural delivery are in the range of EUR 500 per night of stay, after deduction of 100% of the public costs. We are looking for more concrete information about the experience and costs there, to base our decision on whether or not to transfer.
If anyone has had experiences there, it would be great to hear what it was like!

Thank you,

An excited father-to-be.

J

Try Cliniques St Michel and St Luc. We have good experiences with both, and both are public and stick to "conventionné" fees.

Oct 29, 2020 10:04
mikee2020

Hi, J, thanks for the recommendations! We're looking at Etterbeek-Ixelles and Chirec Delta as options since they are relatively close to our house. Distance is perhaps the primary concern for us.

Oct 31, 2020 23:35
irishmum

Hi Mike, the one thing that most dramatically increases hospital costs for a birth is whether or not you and your wife choose a single room. If you choose a shared room, then your out-of-pocket expenses will be very low, whatever the hospital. And in Belgium, shared rooms are usually only with two people (and in COVID times, perhaps you would be alone in a 'shared' room anyway, not sure).

You can find costs from 2010 here, and though that was 10 years ago, the kind of difference between single and shared room still applies: https://www.thevillage.be/pregnancy/costs-and-insurance/

Nov 2, 2020 18:58
mikee2020

Hi IRISHMUM, thank you for the information and link!
We spent a few days early November asking around, and that's pretty much what we gathered as well. The Chirec Hospital at Delta has an extremely helpful office set up specifically to examine and explain the patients' insurance for them.
We asked for the costs of delivering with a single room or shared room stay; for a vaginal delivery where the mother stays 3-5 days, the former would run us ~1,200 EUR and the latter ~200 EUR. The costs for C-section and therefore longer stay (~a week or so) would be higher. My wife's insurance from her job happened to cover the single room, so we sprung for it! It was thanks to Delta's office that we realized it was covered.
Besides cost, the office also informed us that if we went for a single room, our (non-conventionné) doctor would come on call to deliver our baby, but for the shared rooms it would often be the doctor-on-duty that night. We didn't really mind but it was good to know.
Finally, it seems that in COVID times only one mother is allowed in a room anyways. We don't know how that will work yet (Will we pay the basic amount and get a shared room to ourselves? How much different are the single vs. shared rooms?). That's something we intend to ask about on the next visit.
If there's anything new I'll come and update this thread.
Thank you all for helping out :)

Nov 24, 2020 21:19