Monday, 31 August 2009

Quick hit: Maternity moolah mess

From Stuff today:
Foreigners having babies in New Zealand hospitals are leaving behind unpaid bills totalling millions of dollars for their care.

Figures supplied to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act show that in Counties Manukau alone, the health board writes off about $1 million a year in bad debts for maternity services but the Health Ministry admits it does not know how many babies are now born to non-resident women.

Chief executive Geraint Martin said about 250 mothers a year were ineligible for publicly funded maternity but fewer than one in five paid up.

"This amounts to approximately $1 million per year in outstanding bad debt for our DHB."

Before 2003, all maternity care in New Zealand was free but the rules were tightened after revelations foreign women were cashing in with "childbirth expeditions".

Since then, taxpayer-funded care has been limited to mothers who have New Zealand citizenship or residency; have appropriate working visas or refugee status; fall under the reciprocal agreement with Australia and Britain; or whose partners are eligible.
Click through for the rest.

Anyone else reading the first word pejoratively or am I just overly sensitive?


Flynn the Cat said...

In other words... "some foreigners are using our servies. Some bills are unpaid. How many of the former overlap with the latter is completely unknown, so we must Do Something About These Foreigners!"

Tania said...

Why doesn't the government make those not eligible get some type of health insurance? its not just maternity care but any health /hospital care that they must pay for too. I wonder how much is the real cost?