Health care costs for pregnancy and childbirth can easily exceed $10,000 in the United States, but there are steps you can take to try to keep your costs down. You can negotiate your medical bills or set up a payment plan with a provider.
However, there are limits to how you can lower your bill. For example, you cannot negotiate health care prices with your insurance company unless you appeal the decision.
Learn about your options for lowering your health care costs so you can try to save money before and after the bill arrives.
Cut costs before birth
Planning how to pay for potential prenatal expenses can save you money in the long run.
Complications during labor or pregnancy add to the cost. According to a Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker study, the average cost of an uncomplicated vaginal delivery is about $15,000, but the average cost of a complicated cesarean is about $26,000.
To prepare for the cost, familiarize yourself with your plan. If you’re planning a pregnancy ahead of time, or if you become pregnant during open enrollment, you can switch to a plan with more comprehensive pregnancy and maternity coverage. You can compare policies or contact a licensed health insurance agent for help choosing a plan that fits your needs.
Know your insurance plan’s deductibles and excess amounts. Your plan has an individual deductible and a family deductible, as well as an individual deductible cap and a family deductible cap. When your baby is born, your health care costs may reach your and your baby’s annual deductible limit. 2 The maximum household deductible may be the most you will have to pay.
Negotiate Your Medical Expenses
If you have enough money to pay your bills in one lump sum, you may be able to negotiate a discount. If you can’t keep your expenses down and pay your bills, you may have other solutions to avoid financial problems.
First, ask your supplier for a detailed version of the bill. Then have your insurance company give you an Statement of Benefits (EOB) showing her fees and what she paid. Look for errors on vendor itemized invoices – these can include double billing, incorrect program coding, and discrepancies between the invoice and your EOB.
Applying for Medicaid and other financial aid
Even if you are not normally eligible for Medicaid, you may be eligible for Medicaid to cover costs related to pregnancy and childbirth. Many states offer limited versions of Medicaid coverage. Some states even have a tertiary level of coverage, such as California’s Medi-Cal program.
You can check the income limits for your state on the Medicaid website. Please include your intended children in your household size when providing application information.
If you are not eligible for Medicaid pregnancy benefits, you may still be eligible for financial assistance directly through your hospital or provider. Contact the hospital network that serves you and speak with a patient advocate, usually a social worker, who can provide you with resources and support. If the hospital does not have a patient advocate, contact the billing department to see if you qualify for alternative solutions that could reduce costs and try to estimate those costs.
How Medical Expenses Affect Your Credit Score
If you can’t pay your bills, health care costs can lead to debt, and carrying debt can have a major impact on your financial health. If you don’t pay, your late fees and interest charges will increase. Even if you have a payment plan, you may be facing tighter cash flow, which can make it harder to pay all your bills. U.S. consumer debt includes $88 billion in unpaid medical bills as of June 2021