Jul 26, 2012

A whopper of a bill

Sydney is famously expensive. It is the most expensive city in Australia and has been ranked the seventh most expensive city in the world in a cost of living survey of 130 cities. Based on my trawl of Amazon.com, prices of goods here are sometimes 50% more than what they are in the US.

From a Malaysian's perspective some things are cheaper though, thanks to the stronger Australia currency. (we are talking dollar to dollar here since, since a Malaysian resident doesn't earn Australian dollars and an Australian resident doesn't pay in ringgit) Cars are very cheap, some a quarter of the price of cars in Malaysia.  Petrol is cheaper. Groceries are generally cheaper. Goods and tech devices and appliances are a lot cheaper. I learnt that electricity and car insurance and registration is expensive and some fruits can be incredibly expensive and property is expensive (some people rent for $1,000 a week!).

But a new discovery takes the cake where expensive is concerned. The medical bills for the family has ramped up quite a bit recently, and I've just discovered how extremely expensive (private) medical care is in Australia.

We can get private insurance to cover some of the bills but the double whammy is this : the insurance costs are high for a temporary resident  because you don't get Medicare, thus the insurance has to pay for the whole amount or what Medicare pays, not just a gap.

So here's what I've found out :

Going to a GP here costs about A$50-60 for consultation alone. In Malaysia, I consulted a specialist pediatrician for less than I see a GP here : RM40 (A$12)

Here, expect to pay A$150 to A$350 for a specialist's first consultation. I brought Number Two to one pediatric urologist, and paid A$200 for a 10 minute first appointment. Another friend consulted a pediatrician for $350. Another friend brings her son to a pediatric cardiologist, and one appointment costs $530! *pengsan*(faints)

My friends, who recently delivered/about to deliver, pay about $4,000 to $5,000 for a private obgyn's regular consultation and (normal) delivery charges. (this doesn't include private hospital charges, which would cost another $5,000 to $10,000 for a normal delivery) And that's really the low end of the charges.

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