A difficult situation

by admin on April 10, 2011

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Right now, I am facing a huge dilemma and I need to make a decision FAST.

As people who follow my blog will know, we (my husband, 3 year old and I) moved to Singapore in January as my husband was offered a job there. I was 4 months pregnant at the time.

We thought we were covered by my husband’s company healthcare scheme, in some way or other, for any pregnancy complications that arose. Pah! Not so. On reflection, we were blinded by the exciting opportunity to move to Singapore and should have perhaps looked into our supposed health insurance in finer detail.

A few weeks after we arrived, we discovered I wasn’t actually covered for anything pregnancy/childbirth-related through my husband’s company insurance (which actually covers practically nothing). Nor, was there any newborn cover. Since then, we have spent weeks and weeks trying to sort out a solution, and it has been huge cloud hanging over us. There have been stressful days, sleepless nights and plenty of tears on my part – not what you should have to go through when pregnant.

Anyone looking at moving countries when pregnant, BE WARNED. I have yet to come across a health insurance company that doesn’t have a waiting period of 7-10+ months before you can be covered for pregnancy/childbirth. It is also almost impossible to get newborn cover, until the baby is 15-30+ days old – so check before you move.

Despite what people may think, medical costs are high in Singapore, so to not have insurance cover for me or the newborn is a frightening option, especially as I have a few complications, including Placenta Previa (which is worrying in itself), which means I have to have a c-section at around 37 weeks. We have no idea what the final costs are likely to be for me or the newborn and we don’t have the kind of finances to swallow what could effectively be a blank cheque. I have heard of expats facing bills of up to $500,000.

A ray of hope came in the form of Bupa. We had Bupa Family Cover under my husband’s previous company’s healthcare scheme in the UK, which covered me for the c-section and complications. We were told we could transfer to a Bupa International Policy and for a few weeks we thought it was going to be fine. It was nothing but false hope. We’ve just heard from these lovely people they won’t cover the c-section or newborn.

Back to square one.

The dilemma

a) Do I fly back to the UK with my 3 year old to have the baby there. The cut off point for flying is Thursday. Just as we have settled in to our new life, it would be turned upside down again and although there are places I can stay, I can’t imagine having to look after the baby and 3 year old by myself or being apart from my husband for 2-3 months. The upside of doing this is that we wouldn’t have to worry about finances.

or

b) Stay here but enter into the unknown in terms of the final bill we will face. The risk is if I have to be hospitalised before the planned delivery date or if the baby is premature and needs neonatal care.

Time is running out.

What would you do?

{ 8 comments }

kat April 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I’d come back to the UK but I am very conservative when it comes to risks involving pregnancy and birth. xx

TheMadHouse April 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I would comeback home, simples, your health adn the health of your newborn are the most imporatant

Simply Hayley April 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Me personally? I’d return home to take away the unknown! I couldn’t handle it! You know you get the healthcare here and you wont send yourselves broke on personally covering teh costs!
Good luck with whatever you decide hunni! Easy to say but try and relax a little :)

The Moiderer April 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I’m no expert but I suggest if it’s at all practical you should fly home and have your baby. Stress is not good for pregnancy especially if you know there is a high chance of complications. It is a small time period in your total life together in Singapore after all.

admin April 11, 2011 at 1:17 am

Thanks for your replies and support. One of the issues with me coming home is I had a very bad experience with my daughter, that meant both our lives were put at risk (thanks to incompetent medical professionals), although I’m sure it wouldn’t be the same this time around. Here, the healthcare is outstanding – so I actually feel safer having the baby here.

Marie @etincellestudio April 11, 2011 at 1:27 am

Hello… Just read your post and remember feeling quite the same… I had both kids in Asia (Thailand and Singapore) and I was not covered for both of them. Luckily I didn’t have to face any complication during pregnancy, except I had emergency C sections for both of them which added up quickly bill wise.
If you are financially tight + there are high chances of complication, I would suggest that you try to go back to your home country if everything is covered there. Can you stay at your mum’s place or at least with someone who can help? can your husband take a break for a week to be there too? Then you should be able to fly back to Singapore pretty early after the birth.
If you choose tho stay here, go to a public hospital rather than private one (NUH – where I gave birth, or Children and Women’s KK hospital are very good). Then rest a lot and try to relax and think positive – I know it’s very hard.
For information giving birth here last year at NUH with the top doctor (Dr Mary Rauff) – emergency CS + 3 day stay at hospital cost us $7,800. I had a good experience.
If you decide to stay here, it’s also a good idea to get a live in helper you can rely on. I recovered much much faster after my second baby than my first.
Hope this helps!

admin April 11, 2011 at 2:03 am

Hi Marie – Thanks for your comment. I’m having the baby at Mt Elizabeth, but I have heard we could transfer to KK if we had to after the birth.

We do have a live in helper, who is amazing and I am resting as much as possible. We’re seeing my obstetrician tomorrow to get her opinion. I am really not keen to go back to the UK, I think it would be far more stressful than staying here.

If only I had a crystal ball…

Pernille April 11, 2011 at 7:00 am

If you can afford average cost of giving childbirth you should stay. But if I were in your shooes, I would go back – even if it ment being alone for awhile with my 3 year old and the baby.
Have you considered if your husbands company will pay the expenses? Perhaps they will help?!

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