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More Slovak women opt to give birth abroad

SLOVAK health insurance companies report an increasing number of Slovak women requiring repayment of costs for giving birth abroad. 

(Source: Sme)

They most often choose Austria or the Czech Republic as the place where they deliver their child even though they have to cover part of the costs themselves as health insurers only reimburse costs equalling average prices in Slovakia. Thus, for example, a woman may pay up to €2.500 for childbirth in an Austrian hospital while she can only claim one half of that amount at the most from the insurance company, the TASR newswire wrote.

The biggest health insurer, the state Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP) refunded costs of 36 births abroad in 2014, of which 18 were in the Czech Republic and 18 in Austria. Compared with 2013 this was an increase of 34.

“For a natural labour we pay €586 on average and for a Caesarean section €200 more,” said Petra Balážová, spokeswoman of VšZP, as cited by TASR. The insurer covers costs of €490 on average for hospitalisation of a child.

The private Dôvera health insurer reported 23 requests for repayment of labour costs for 2014, of which 15 were for births in Austria, Matej Štepiansky told TASR. In 2013 it registered 12 requests. It reimburses €590 for a natural labour as well as a Caesarean section and €430 for hospitalisation of a child.

Clients of the second private insurer, Union, gave birth abroad too, when 12 applied for repayment of costs in 2014. One year before Union did not register any such requests. It repays up to €650 for a natural labour as well as a Caesarean section and up to €566 for hospitalisation of a child, spokeswoman Judita Smatanová told TASR.

According to the Health Policy Institute (HPI), Slovak women choose to give birth abroad especially because of a respectful and friendly communicating staff.

“Mothers especially praise efforts of the staff of keeping their intimacy and dignity,” Katarína Skybová of HPI told TASR. “Women expecting a baby also travel abroad with a wish for as natural a labour as possible, i.e. without useless medication or invoking the labour.”

Skybová warned that when pondering giving birth abroad, Slovak women should also take into consideration possible complications. She cited the example of the maternity hospital in Hainburg, visited also by Slovak women, that does not have a post-neonatal care unit and the anaesthesiologist is not available throughout the whole day. Thus in case of complications a transfer of the woman into a bigger hospital is necessary. From this point of view security in Bratislava’s maternity hospitals is higher, she said.

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Topic: Health care


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