Nearly 4 million women in the United States will give birth annually and in 2020 alone, approximately one in nine U.S. women of childbearing age was uninsured.
If you are insured, the cost of having a baby will require you to first meet your insurance’s deductible, which is likely a few thousand dollars. Once you meet your deductible and your insurance coverage kicks in, you will still likely have to pay a coinsurance amount, such as 20 percent of your costs. Check your insurance policy to see your insurance policy’s specific copay fees or coinsurance percentages. Try to find in-network providers and facilities to further limit your costs.
If you are one of the uninsured that we mentioned above, there are several opportunities available to pregnant women to help them in getting the health insurance coverage they need. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has a Special Enrollment Period when several triggering events qualify people to apply for the ACA outside of the typical Open Enrollment Period, one of these triggers is being within 60 days of having a baby, which while helpful for postpartum care, would not cover the cost of giving birth.
Medicaid focuses on lower-income women than the ACA, but it does also cover women throughout their pregnancy as well as two months past childbirth. If you qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), you could insure your child as well as yourself as their parent or guardian for a few years after that.
If you are uninsured and do not qualify for these lower-income programs, you are likely still wondering, just how much does it cost to give birth to a baby in a hospital. Well, let’s get down to it.
This cost can vary depending upon your state’s cost of living as well as if you end up giving birth vaginally or via c-section. The average cost of having a baby without complications ranges from almost $5,000 to $11,000 for vaginal delivery and $7,500 to $15,000 for a c-section. Women today are increasingly like to utilize a c-section, 150 percent as often as vaginal deliveries.
However, that is not the only cost. Prenatal care is key to delivering a healthy baby and that can add many costs as well. Overall, it is thought that the cost of being uninsured and pregnant can double the number of out-of-pocket costs. From their first OB-GYN appointment, expectant moms typically have an average of seven to 12 prenatal visits. These appointments and costs could include:
- Doctor’s visits: $90 – $500 per appointment
- hCG test: $39
- Ultrasound: $280 – $600
- Amniocentesis: $2,500
- Blood tests: $39 – $63 each
- Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): $1,300 – $4,800
- Amniocentesis: $1,000 – $7,200
Now, after childbirth, postpartum care will incur additional costs. New mothers may experience a wide range of serious ailments following birth, including infection, cardiovascular conditions, and postpartum depression. Insured women spend an average of $3,100 within a year after giving birth; uninsured mothers can expect to spend that much more.
Whether your pregnancy was planned or not, getting your finances in order can alleviate the stress that the uncertainties of pregnancy can bring. Anticipate potential costs and seek ways to reduce them or spread them out. Here are a few ways to lighten the financial load of childbirth:
- Negotiate payment up-front: Ask for a cash pay discount, especially if you can make full payments up-front.
- Set up a payment plan: Your hospital can explain options if you cannot afford your hospital bills. They may offer a hospital indemnity policy, which will cover limited pregnancy benefits compared to a major medical plan.
- Review bills for hidden costs and errors: Check and confirm each charge before paying the provider.
- Call for legal help: If you were denied coverage for prenatal care that you believe you’re entitled to, call Cover Her, the National Women’s Law Center’s hotline.
- Choose an alternative to the hospital: Home and birth center deliveries are growing in popularity, and these options could save you thousands if your pregnancy is low risk.
Uninsured? You likely qualify for cheap and often even FREE health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA)! During the Special Enrollment Period (SEP), TrueCoverage can connect you with quality ACA health insurance if you have had a qualifying life-changing event recently, such as losing your health insurance, moving, getting married, having a baby, and more.