So, what does having a baby cost? A lot of money. Whether you have maternity insurance or not, babies are expensive. There are, however, ways to save yourself money when having a baby. Here are some ways you might consider;
- Know what your insurance covers and what it does not cover.
You will want to find out, preferably before you are pregnant, what you will be expected to pay. Don't be waved off with the statement that "everything" maternity related is covered. Ask specific questions. Will you have a co-pay or deductible? Will your baby have a separate co-pay or deductible? What procedures and tests are covered in pregnancy? At birth? For newborns?
- Check your hospital or birth center bill.
There are very likely errors on your hospital bill. If you go over the detailed bill, even if you don't have to pay it out of pocket, you can find the errors and get them fixed. Even having your insurance company save money benefits you in the end with lower premiums. Examples of hospital bill errors include being charged twice for procedures or being charged for medications or procedures you didn't have.
For example, I was charged for a circumcision kit when my daughter was born, she certainly didn't have a circumcision. Another friend of mine was charged for a cesarean section, when she had a vaginal birth. You will also hear stories of being charged for multiple epidurals or other medications.
- Negotiate a price for prenatal care and birth package.
If you are paying out of pocket for your prenatal care and labor and delivery see if you can get a "deal." Will you save money if you completely prepay all the fees that can be known ahead of time? Will they offer you a discount for going to a certain hospital or birth center? Do not hesitate to shop around for prices for both your practitioner and your place of birth. You are the consumer of their product.
- Do you really need that?
When you are getting your prenatal care, you might simply take every test that is offered to you. Before you agree to have a medical test or procedure, whether it is an amniocentesis, blood work or an ultrasound, be sure to find out why it is being offered or ordered. Get informed consent. Is this test really necessary? What do you hope or expect to find out from the test? How much does the test cost? Do you really need the test or procedure? You might be really surprised at the answers to all of these questions.
One mother I work with asked her doctor about a test he had ordered. She was really only concerned that the doctor thought something was wrong with her baby. Come to find out that the doctor ordered it for everyone because it was available. He didn't know how much it cost but when she checked into it, the test was nearly $900 and it was not covered by her insurance and didn't really offer her baby any benefit. She declined the test rather than find a surprise $900 medical bill.
- Prenatal Vitamins
This is a category that most people forget about. Your practitioner may write a prescription for prenatal vitamins. But very rarely do you need a big fancy prenatal. Most mothers are fine with the generic over the counter variety. Can you skip the $25 co-pay for fancy vitamins?