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The Unexpected Costs of Having a Baby in the USA

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Babies and young children cost so much in medical expenses that it is always more economical to buy health insurance for children. There are expenses that range from immunizations to scoliosis braces, from a built up shoe to childhood allergies. Problems during childhood are so broad and so unexpected that having a good policy is likely to save you a fortune over time. Getting health insurance if you have children, especially young children, is a great idea, but what about the cost of actually having a baby? If you are pregnant and have not yet thought about health insurance, then the costs listed in this article will shake you into action.

Using the USA as a Template

One could have picked any of the Anglo Saxon countries, and probably any number of European countries to create an example. However, since the US dollar is the most popular currency on earth, this article is based on people in the USA. For the record, this article is based on averages because it is often cheaper to have a baby in a rural area than in a major city. 

Also, the USA has a pretty average health insurance distribution. It goes something like, 49% of adults are covered by their work, 6% are self-insured, 20% have Medicare, 1% have military insurance, and 9% are completely uninsured. 

The Cost of Having a Baby

Contrary to popular belief, even with health insurance, your pregnancy is going to cost you money. Your health insurance is not going to cover things like antacid tablets, pregnancy pillows, or even the bus fare required when you go to your scans. 

 

Then comes the big day when you go into hospital and have your baby. Again, some people think that this is a cost-free experience if you have health insurance, but this is just not the case. Here are some of the averages with and without health insurance. These are the average costs that your hospital will hand out to you once you leave after having your baby. 

 

● (No insurance) Regular birth: $30,000
● (No insurance) C-section: $50,000
● (With insurance) Regular birth: $3,400
● (With insurance) C-section: $3,400

 

As you can see by these averages in the US, even with good health insurance, you are probably going to have to pay thousands. This may be even more if you have emergency transport to the hospital and you are not living in somewhere like Queensland or Tasmania in Australia where medical transport is free.

 Why Would People With Insurance Leave Hospital With a $3000+ Bill?

Read the small print in your health insurance policy that covers you giving birth, and you will notice text that mentions out of pocket expenses. These may also be called medical gaps, and it is another way of saying that your insurer is not going to pay for everything, which means after you leave the hospital, you will have run up an average bill of $3000. There are even separate policies and add-ons to your policy that cover these medical gaps.

 

There are many times where an insurer, and even the US Medicare plan, will only pay for 75% of the expenses, leaving the rest for you to pay. Another common reason for out-of-pocket expenses is the cost of specialist care. For example, in Australia, the doctor who delivers your baby can charge whatever he or she wants. There are debates about what is deemed as fair and what are not, but the fact is that doctors can charge fees that your insurance thinks are excessive, and so your insurance passes the added cost on to you. 

The Unexpected Shock of Added Bills

Let’s say that you have health insurance that covers you and your birth, you go to your doctor, you see an OB-GYN, and everything seems normal. Then, three days later you get a bill for $3000. What is all that about? 

 

Many insurance plans, including those that call themselves pregnancy plans, will not cover anything that is deemed prenatal care. Even the companies that do explicitly cover prenatal care will only pay a portion or will only pay up to a certain amount. This means that if you need something like several scans, you may be severely out of pocket.

When Your Boss Won’t Pay

Whether you are getting private health insurance for your pregnancy, for the birth, or you are getting private health insurance for kids, a common unexpected problem is the high deductible you agreed to. Many people forget that they helped push their premium costs down by agreeing to a high deductible (or excess as it is known in other countries). 

 

However, one of the most unexpected problems comes to the health insurance your boss is paying. There are plenty of jobs where you are offered health insurance for yourself, for your pregnancy, for the birth, and even for your kids after they are born. Sadly, many people have unsafe expectations about this coverage and so they never look into the small print or the details of their cover. They then have their kids and discover that the health insurance they have only covers a fraction of the costs, and they are left paying the rest. Take all of this into account if you are pregnant or about to get pregnant because it could end up being very costly if you do not have the right cover.


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