A woman’s pregnancy is a time of anticipation and excitement; there’s a little one on the way and you’re eager to meet him or her. This period is also the chance to prepare in many ways, even financially. In our last blog, we discussed the expenses of and ways to save on prenatal care. Here, let’s talk about the costs associated with labor and delivery and ways you keep real dollars in your pocket.
The average cost of a vaginal hospital birth with no complications is over $9,000. Depending on the details of your health plan, the amount you will pay out of pocket will vary. (Remember, you will have to pay your full deductible amount, before your health insurance kicks in and starts covering some of the cost).
Weigh Your Options
There are alternatives to delivering in a hospital. Some parents opt for home births or birthing centers as cost-saving alternatives. Do your research ahead of time and know what you’re comfortable with.
Shop Around For Fair-Priced, In-Network Care
It is crucial to stay in-network when utilizing your health benefits. Otherwise, you’ll foot considerably more of your medical bills or maybe even the entire thing. Ouch.
Labor and delivery and maternity care is no different: staying in-network will make a significant difference in your total out-of-pocket costs.
Remember, you have a few providers and facilities to shop for:
1. Your OB/GYN –This provider will provide care before, during and after your delivery.
2. The hospital – Hospitals can be tricky. You need to call ahead and make sure that the hospital you’re planning on delivering at is covered by your health insurance.
3. Your baby’s pediatrician – After delivery, your little one will need the care and attention of a pediatrician. Have an in-network selection made prior to delivery to avoid any last-minute, out-of-network choices.
4. Additional providers – Depending on the conditions of your delivery, you might be treated by multiple providers (for example, an anesthesiologist). Even if the hospital is in-network, out-of-network providers might practice there (again, tricky). Call ahead and ask about each provider’s network. The more prepared and upfront you are, the more you’ll save.
Not All In-Network Prices Are the Same
Searching for in-network providers is an important step. Unfortunately it’s just the first, though. Even within network, there are huge, non-standardized price variations for maternity care. In fact, prices from provider to provider can differ by up to 500%
When calling around, be sure to ask for prices to find the providers offering more reasonable prices.
Psst…are you a HooPayz member? We do this for you!
Know What’s Included
Hospital visits are expensive. Most of us expect this, however, it can be shocking to receive a detailed medical bill and see a list of amenities you’d just assumed would be included. These items add of fast and oftentimes, can be avoided.
In all that prep work you do, find out what’s included and what’s not with your upcoming hospital stay. Some extra charges we’ve seen and negotiated on behalf of our members include:
• Private room (this can hundreds more per day)
• TV (believe it or not this can be something like $8/day)
• Acetaminophen (we’ve seen a charge of $10 for this)
• Feminine “maternity pad” ($40 on one bill)
• Thermometer (another $26)
Some hospitals let patients bring their own items, so be sure to ask. To help you remember all the important questions, use our checklist.
Add Your Baby To Your Insurance Plan ASAP
Most insurance plans allot up to 30 days to add your newborn to your policy. Meeting this deadline is crucial: you might be responsible for your own maternity costs if you fail to do so.
Even if the hospital has you fill out paperwork with all of your insurance information, and tells you they are going to contact your insurance provider, still give your plan a call and add your new family member. This way, nothing will fall through the cracks and show up later in the form of a hefty bill!
Have a Question About Your Upcoming Delivery? We’re Here to Help!
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