How to save on your prenatal doctor appointments

PHOTO: The Straits Times file

Prenatal care in Singapore is expensive. In fact, the average cost of pregnancy before you factor in your MediSave is $6,393 for the full nine-month period.

A primary expense is the doctor's bills from your checkups, which can be as much as $1,100 from a public hospital and 58 per cent more if you use a private clinic.

To help you save on your doctor's appointments, we've listed ways to reduce costs below.

Book a prenatal care package where possible

One thing you can do to save on your prenatal doctor appointments is to use a prenatal care package. Depending on your gynecologist, these packages can cost $1,500 - $2,000 , and include ultrasounds, testing and regular checkups.

To save money, consider using a public hospital or clinic, as private clinics are a bit more expensive. For instance, private clinics have a benchmark of $480 - $950 for an ultrasound. However, private clinics usually offer specialty resources like lactation consultants.

Cost of an antenatal maternity package in Singapore

PHOTO: ValueChampion

Without a prenatal package, you could be paying more for these prenatal doctor's appointments. For example, the average cost of a gynecologist visit is, on the higher end, $200 per visit.

From appointments alone, you could be paying nearly $2,200 (if you factor in monthly checkups until seven months pregnant and bi-monthly visits thereafter).

Therefore, getting a package could not only save you money since you won't be buying everything individually, but will also give you peace of mind in knowing how much you will pay overall.

Check your MediSave and health insurance benefits

Another thing to consider is tapping into your MediSave account to help cover the costs of your doctor's appointments. For prenatal doctor's appointments, you can withdraw up to $900.

Of course, the percentage that the MediSave money will cover will vary depending on which gynecologist you choose.

For example, a private clinic may charge $2,000 out-of-pocket for a prenatal care package, which means the $900 will cover 45 per cent of the cost.

On the other hand, the MediSave Maternity Package will cover 100 per cent of the treatment if you book a basic, subsidised pre-delivery package at KK Women and Children's Hospital that costs $900.

MediSave maternity package withdrawal limits

PHOTO: CPF.gov.sg

Depending on your circumstance, you may also have an additional health insurance plan that could help pay for these expenses.

While Integrated Shield Plans don't cover routine prenatal doctor's appointments, if you're an expat on an international health insurance plan or if your employer offers you a comprehensive health insurance package, you may get a maternity component that can help cover those costs.

If you are concerned about pregnancy complications and your health insurance doesn't provide comprehensive coverage you can consider a maternity insurance plan with a low premium, high payout, and covered hospital stays for pregnancy complications.

In any case, it's always good to check your health insurance just in case to see if you will get a rebate on your prenatal doctor's visits.

If you're paying in cash, use a credit card that will give you money back

Another way to save on your doctor's bills is to use a credit card that will give you money back for each purchase that you make. This could come in handy if you have to make a last-minute additional appointment, like an emergency checkup.

Make sure to use a credit card that specifically gives you rewards for hospital bills. Additionally, using a cashback credit card can help you save money on other costs too, like vitamins your doctor prescribes or prenatal fitness classes like yoga.

Pregnancy-related costs you can pay for with a credit card

PHOTO: ValueChampion

Saving money now can help you in the long-run

While you may be excited to welcome your newborn into the world, you also have to be prepared for the high costs associated with having a baby.

To best prepare, make sure you're aware of ways you can save —  whether it's through booking a maternity package at a hospital, checking your insurance coverage, or using a cash-back credit card for baby-related purchases.

This way you can be more than financially prepared to welcome your bundle of joy.

This article was first published in ValueChampion.