Help with the Increasing Cost of Pregnancy



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Becoming a parent is a life-changing experience. When people consider having a baby, the costs to give birth are rarely a consideration. The average cost of having a baby is increasing and will cost you an arm and a leg in some U.S. cities, particularly on the West Coast. Whether you have health insurance or not, babies are quite expensive.

The amount you will pay will depend on several factors, such as where you live, whether you have a vaginal birth or a c-section and whether you’ve any complications. Keep in mind that your costs do not end with the delivery alone. Your pregnancy alone has many costs that accompany the numerous visits to the doctor's office, tests, and other procedures you might have.

The average cost of childbirth varies significantly from one city to another. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, noted that the cost of an uncomplicated birth (vaginal) varied widely in the Golden State — from only $3,296 to $37,227, depending on the hospital. On the other hand, C-section cost ranged between $8,312 and $71,000.

Prepare for These Costs

You will see your doctor for monthly checkups, especially during the first trimester if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy. Often, these are subject to a copay ranging from $15 to $35. Here are some of the most common maternity expenses that you can expect throughout your pregnancy:

  • Lab work

  • Prenatal visit cost

  • Early ultrasound

  • Birthing classes

  • Maternal blood screening

  • Prenatal vitamins

  • Chorionic villus sampling

  • Delivery costs

The typical cost in case of vaginal delivery with complications ranges from $14,000 to $25,000 or more. For a premature baby or other complications, your bill may reach tens of thousands of dollars, especially if your baby has to spend several weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

When it comes to medical costs, twins are tricky. So, as soon as you know, you’re having twins call your insurance company. As being pregnant with multiples can increase your risks of complications, you could be looking at a considerably larger bill.

Some necessary supplies you should consider buying for your baby are:

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  • Bottles

  • Crib

  • Diapers and wipes

  • Car seat

  • Changing table

  • Baby formula

  • A few baby clothes 

  • Baby monitor

  • Blankets

Pregnancy Insurance 

Maternity coverage in the U.S. is one of the ten essential health benefits that have to be covered by almost all health insurance plans. Health plans include the following maternity services:

  • Inpatient services, like hospitalization and physician fees, etc.

  • Outpatient services, such as postnatal doctor visits and prenatal visits

  • Lab studies, gestational diabetes screenings, and medications, etc

  • Newborn baby care

  • Breast pump rental and lactation counseling 

If you are considering changing health insurance plans, you may want to do so before getting pregnant. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the federal government prohibits most group health insurance plans from treating pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. However, individual health insurance plans may legally treat your pregnancy as a pre-existing condition and effectively deny maternity coverage. 

  • Review your health coverage or speak with the provider to get details on the following:

  • The deductible required before your coinsurance kicks in

  • Copay amount for doctor visits

  • Percentage of coinsurance coverage

  • Any additional costs you may incur by going out of network


Financing Options

Financial assistance, such as grants, for pregnant mothers, provides support and comfort during a critical time in life. Getting financial help can mean easy access to prenatal care, extra income, and a happy, well-fed baby. You will receive funds or other kinds of grants if you can establish proof of your eligibility and meet all the qualifications for the grant. 

Women, Infants and Children Program

There is no denying that proper nutrition is one of the priorities when you're pregnant, and the U.S. government recognizes this.

And the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC) is a federal program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The department of health in your state usually administers the WIC program for at-risk pregnant and postpartum women and their infants and kids. 

Debt Relief Programs

Debt consolidation and settlement programs can lower the amount you must repay creditors. If you are an expectant woman and owe over $1,000 in unsecured debts with a steady source of income, you may qualify for help.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is another excellent program for pregnant women. If you have more than one child and have a greater need, then you might qualify for other grants and assistance via TANF. This state-run program offers federal aid to eligible unemployed or low-income families in all states.

Hospitals

You can avail grant funds from your local hospital through two primary sources. These are private funding for pregnant women and government funding for a maternity research project. Many groups like "Friends of the Hospital," raise funds for many special hospital projects and can award maternity grants.

Community Nonprofit Groups

Nonprofit groups in your community are another great source of assistance. Many of these groups get federal or state grants and private grants to help low-income individuals with various health and psychosocial needs. You can ask your healthcare provider for information on these valuable community resources, which may include food banks.

Crowdfunding

Having a baby is quite expensive, and many people are turning to crowdfunding to cover the costs of pregnancy, even before giving birth. Thousands of women in the country use crowdfunding to raise money for their pregnancy needs and healthcare costs. Be smart, get ahead of these costs, depending on where you are in your pregnancy you may have as many as nine months to raise these funds.

Compared to the interest charges amassed by credit cards and payday loans, crowdfunding websites like CoFund Health can offer an excellent alternative for cash-strapped families, particularly those with large social networks, to raise money to minimize medical debt.

 

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Burke Williams is the co-founder of CoFund Health, a crowdfunding site for personal healthcare needs, and CoFund My Pet, a crowdfunding site dedicated to pet’s health. He’s a dad and a lifelong pet parent of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. For more information visit cofundhealth.com or cofundmypet.com.


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