Pregnancy is typically the most expensive planned medical expense a couple will endure. Deciding whether or not health insurance to cover it is worth the cost will depend on the price of the policy verses the cost of having a baby.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average pregnancy costs between $3000 and $7000. This is for a healthy pregnancy and normal delivery; if you have complications or need a caesarean section cost can go up drastically.
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Maternity health insurance policies generally cost around $200 extra a month. The cost may be higher or lower depending on individual factors such as age, health, location, and the health insurance company you choose. These policies tend to work like traditional health insurance policies using co-payments and deductibles.
You will need to research your options before you become pregnant. Many companies will not write a policy if you are already pregnant or require a wait period before benefits take effect. Many times the wait period can be up to 12 months.
What is maternity insurance?
Many insurance companies do not offer maternity benefits as part of their individual health insurance policies; and group health insurance polices only have to offer coverage if the company has over 15 employees. These benefits may be limited though.
If your health insurance plan does not cover maternity benefits you may wonder if supplemental maternity insurance is a good option. Maternity insurance can be purchased from many companies as a rider to an existing policy or as a separate supplemental health insurance policy. Maternity insurance can provide you coverage for expenses related to prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care.
The American Pregnancy Association estimates that 13% of women who get pregnant each year do not have insurance. Many of these women do not meet the eligibility standards for government funded programs such as Medicaid. Statistically women who do not have proper health insurance coverage will not seek out or receive proper prenatal care. This can have devastating effects on both the baby and the mother.
The Affordable Care Act has included provisions for maternity care. In 2014, all policies sold by private insurance companies will have to include maternity care as part of their basic plans. They will also no longer to be able to refuse polices to woman if they are already pregnant because of the provision that will ban pre-existing condition clauses.
What does maternity insurance cover?
Maternity health insurance is designed to cover expenses related to your pregnancy and the birth. Most policies cover doctors’ visits, laboratory tests, hospital stay, delivery, and anesthesia. Covered services will also include vitamins, medications, and necessary ultrasounds. They will also cover expenses that rise due to complications.
Just like any health insurance policy, companies offer different levels of coverage and services included. You should always read the policy closely and discuss any concerns with your insurance company. You will also need to see what doctors and hospitals in your area accept the insurance.
Is there any way to keep maternity costs down if I do not have insurance?
If you find out that you are pregnant and cannot find affordable coverage there are still ways to help keep costs down without sacrificing care. Maternity insurance has always been an issue and many health care facilities and doctors are used to having patients without coverage. Researching and understanding your options will be beneficial in saving money.
Negotiate prices before you receive services. Many times doctors will offer discounted rates to patients who will be paying cash. They can do this because they are not paying for staff to file claims and they are not locked into a contract with your insurance company. You may need to check with different doctors in your area to find the best fit for you and your wallet though.
You can also negotiate with the hospital you will be using for the delivery. Many hospitals will also offer significant discounts to patients who are willing to pre-pay for services. They will give you a cost breakdown for services and costs associated with typical deliveries.
You would make payments to the hospital during the course of your pregnancy. This would leave you only responsible for services that were not included in the event you had complications.
If you do not have a history of complications or family history of them you may look into hiring a midwife. Midwives are trained and licensed to provide family planning and prenatal care. They are also trained to deliver babies.
Midwives routinely consult with obstetricians and perinatologists as well according to the American Pregnancy Association. If complications arise they may refer you for specialized care though.
Midwives can be lower in cost because they provide a more natural approach to pregnancy and birth. Most will even offer birthing support in your own home. This means no hospital bills. They usually have payment plans and sliding scales available as well as taking most major insurance plans.
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