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How to Cut the Cost of Having a Baby

 

Pregnancy | Childbirth | How to Cut the Cost of Having a Baby | Reduce Childbirth Costs | How To Save When Having A Baby | Saving Up for A Baby |Ways to Save Money When Having A Baby | Top Baby Costs | Ways to Save Money on Baby Stuff | Cut Down Baby Expenses

This is a Guest Post from Brittany at Equipping Godly Women

It’s no surprise that having a baby can be incredibly expensive. Between the doctor’s bills, the hospital bills and all of the things a new baby needs, the costs can really add up quickly. In fact, according to this article on Parenting.com, parents pay an average of $8,802 per child in prenatal, delivery-related and postpartum healthcare charges alone.

Thankfully, just because other parents are paying this much (and more!) to birth their babies does not mean that you have to do the same. It is possible to slash these costs dramatically, saving yourself thousands of dollars in the process, and it probably won’t even take you long at all. You just have to know how.

Whether you’re pregnant currently or you hope to be soon, now is the time to start thinking about how to cut the cost of having a baby. Don’t blindly accept over-inflated hospital bills, thinking that you don’t have a choice. Use these seven tips to save big.

Pregnancy | Childbirth | How to Cut the Cost of Having a Baby | Reduce Childbirth Costs | How To Save When Having A Baby | Saving Up for A Baby |Ways to Save Money When Having A Baby | Top Baby Costs | Ways to Save Money on Baby Stuff | Cut Down Baby Expenses

 1. Check Your Insurance Coverage Before You Get Pregnant

Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean that your pregnancy is covered. The insurance I had with my second child didn’t cover pregnancy-related expenses at all, and the insurance I had with my third child did cover pregnancy–but not at the hospital I wanted to deliver at.

Take the time to thoroughly look over your insurance coverage before you get pregnant to make sure it covers everything you think it does. Then, call your insurance company and talk to a representative to make sure you are understanding your policy correctly and not forgetting any important details.

Don’t just consider the uncomplicated birth you hope to have either. Make sure you are covered in case the unthinkable happens. Will your insurance cover you if you have a medical emergency and need to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time? What if your baby has complications? Will your baby automatically be covered from birth or does he or she need to be added ahead of time?

While calling the insurance company is rarely fun, this is one phone call you won’t want to put off. The sooner you check your coverage, the more time you’ll have to shop around for different insurance or to investigate other options, if needed.

Pregnancy | Childbirth | How to Cut the Cost of Having a Baby | Reduce Childbirth Costs | How To Save When Having A Baby | Saving Up for A Baby |Ways to Save Money When Having A Baby | Top Baby Costs | Ways to Save Money on Baby Stuff | Cut Down Baby Expenses

2. Call Around to Compare Rates

Even with insurance, the price you’ll pay for prenatal care and labor and delivery can vary widely depending on where you go and who you see. Don’t choose your doctor or hospital without doing a little research first. Consider location, credentials, and recommendations from friends, but be sure to look into the price differences as well.

Call around to various doctor’s offices and ask questions such as:

  • How much does it cost to have a baby through one of your doctors?
  • Does this cost include both prenatal care and delivery charges?
  • Does it include a six week check-up for me or the baby’s first well-baby visit?
  • Do I need to pay as I go or am I billed after baby is born?
  • What medical tests am I likely to have done that I will also need to budget for? (Ultrasounds, blood work, etc.)

Pregnancy | Childbirth | How to Cut the Cost of Having a Baby | Reduce Childbirth Costs | How To Save When Having A Baby | Saving Up for A Baby |Ways to Save Money When Having A Baby | Top Baby Costs | Ways to Save Money on Baby Stuff | Cut Down Baby Expenses

3. Ask About Available Discounts

Don’t have insurance? The cost may not be as bad as you think. Call the hospital and doctor’s office ahead of time and ask if they have any available discounts, such as a “no insurance” discount, a “cash” discount or a “pay in full” discount. If they say they do, be sure to get as much information as you can. Write it down so you don’t forget and so you can hold them to it later.

As someone who often hasn’t had good insurance coverage, I can tell you most places are willing to work with you! Every time I’ve called and asked about discounts, the other party was happy to provide one, and the cost was always comparable to what it would have been if I had had insurance. Hospitals and doctor’s offices don’t typically advertise these discounts, however, so you’ll never know unless you ask.

4. Ask About Payment Plans

Unless you are 100 percent certain that you’ll be able to save up enough money to cover all of your pregnancy-related medical expenses before baby arrives (in which case, good for you!), you’ll also want to ask the hospital and doctor’s office if they offer any sort of payment plans. Again, most places won’t advertise these; you’ll have to ask.

If they do, ask questions such as:

  • When will my first payment be due?
  • How many payments will I make?
  • What will my payments be?
  • How often will my payments be due–monthly, weekly, or as I can afford to make them?
  • How long will I have to pay the entire balance?
  • Will I pay interest on my balance while I’m paying it off?
  • Is my payment plan based on my credit?
  • Does the price or interest rate change depending on the number of payments I make?
  • What happens if I miss a payment or cannot pay the full amount I’m supposed to?

Pregnancy | Childbirth | How to Cut the Cost of Having a Baby | Reduce Childbirth Costs | How To Save When Having A Baby | Saving Up for A Baby |Ways to Save Money When Having A Baby | Top Baby Costs | Ways to Save Money on Baby Stuff | Cut Down Baby Expenses

5. Skip Unnecessary Tests and Procedures

When sitting in the doctor’s office, especially as a first-time mom, it can be very tempting to simply go along with everything the doctor says without question. After all, she has a medical license; you don’t. The problem with this, however, is that after seeing hundreds of patients over several years, many doctors begin running on routine–making decisions based on habit, rather than what you personally need.

Your doctor may routinely recommend three ultrasounds, but you really only need one. He may offer additional vaccines or genetic screenings, which you may want to opt out of. Personally, when I mentioned to my doctor that I was feeling unusually tired, he automatically wanted to do blood tests for anemia and thyroid issues, even though my symptoms didn’t fit. I politely declined. You can too, if you feel the tests are unnecessary.

While you would never want to skip necessary tests in an effort to save a few bucks, there may be times when your doctor recommends certain tests more out of routine or as a precaution than because you really need them to keep yourself or your baby healthy. Don’t be afraid to talk to the doctor to find out what’s really necessary and what’s not.Pregnancy | Childbirth | How to Cut the Cost of Having a Baby | Reduce Childbirth Costs | How To Save When Having A Baby | Saving Up for A Baby |Ways to Save Money When Having A Baby | Top Baby Costs | Ways to Save Money on Baby Stuff | Cut Down Baby Expenses

6. Opt for a Natural Birth

While a natural, drug-free birth may not be right for everyone, it can save you thousands of dollars if you’re up for the challenge. I didn’t have an epidural with any of my children, and my first two were well over nine pounds!

With the cost of epidurals typically ranging from $1,000 to $2,000, opting to go without one can save you a significant amount of money. Plus, did you know that women who do have epidurals are more likely to have C-sections? Or that women who don’t have epidurals often have quicker, easier recoveries after birth? A quicker, easier recovery means a shorter, cheaper hospital stay and less money spent on pain medications after the fact.

Pregnancy | Childbirth | How to Cut the Cost of Having a Baby | Reduce Childbirth Costs | How To Save When Having A Baby | Saving Up for A Baby |Ways to Save Money When Having A Baby | Top Baby Costs | Ways to Save Money on Baby Stuff | Cut Down Baby Expenses

7. Know How the Hospital Bills

Does your hospital consider a one-day stay to be 24 hours from the time you check in, 24 hours from the time your baby is born, or when the date on the calendar is one number different? This is one question most mothers never think to ask, and yet it could potentially save you thousands, especially if you pull up to the hospital at 11:30 p.m. like we did!

The more questions you ask, the less likely you’ll be to end up paying for something you didn’t need to. Call the hospital ahead of time and ask questions such as:

  • Assuming I have no complications, how long will be I required to stay?
  • Are my meals included in the price? What about my husband’s?
  • Are diapers, pads and pain medication included in the price, or will I be charged extra?
  • Will my child’s newborn screenings be included in the price, or will I receive a separate bill?
  • How soon after my baby is born should I expect the bill?

Just because babies are completely adorable and worth every penny does not mean that you should pay more to have one than you need to. Use these seven tips to save thousands on your pregnancy-related medical expenses and put those extra funds aside for later. Trust me, you’re going to need them!

 

Brittany is a devoted Christian, wife and mother, who loves helping other womenPregnancy | Childbirth | How to Cut the Cost of Having a Baby | Reduce Childbirth Costs | How To Save When Having A Baby | Saving Up for A Baby |Ways to Save Money When Having A Baby | Top Baby Costs | Ways to Save Money on Baby Stuff | Cut Down Baby Expenses grow in these roles as well. When she isn’t busy taking care of her growing family, you can find her at Equipping Godly Women, where she regularly shares tips, tricks and encouragement to help you be the amazing woman God created you to be.

 

Pregnancy | Childbirth | How to Cut the Cost of Having a Baby | Reduce Childbirth Costs | How To Save When Having A Baby | Saving Up for A Baby |Ways to Save Money When Having A Baby | Top Baby Costs | Ways to Save Money on Baby Stuff | Cut Down Baby Expenses

36 Comments

  1. Amy P
    February 8 at 08:41AM

    That was eye-opening! In Canada the only thing I’ve had to worry about at the hospital is whether I’ve brought enough snacks – the meals are free (maybe I should say included? We do pay taxes, after all) but I’m always starving after delivering and so they never feel big enough! It is incredibly nice to not stress about the costs associated with my being there; requiring an emergency C-section would be stressful enough without knowing how much it was going to hurt our budget.

    • February 8 at 04:06PM

      You lucky duck! That sounds awesome 🙂

    • Liisa
      February 15 at 08:41PM

      Yes, as a Canadian, I’m always horrified by the amount of money Americans pay for supposed medical insurance that really doesn’t cover everything. After paying many hundreds of dollars per month, most of the women I know in the US have had to pay co-pays, fees for tests, hospital fees, etc. In BC, where I live, we pay monthly premiums that cover almost anything. The absolute maximum premium for a family of 3 or more people is $150/month. The most I was ever asked to pay during a pregnancy was either $10 or $25 for an ultrasound and that was very unusual. Everything else, including 1 hr long monthly visits with a midwife, home delivery (or delivery or c-section in a hospital) and post-partum care, well baby visits, etc are fully covered, including genetic and blood testing. This is not an area where people should be cutting back! The US needs to develop better health care delivery systems that reach everyone. The medical technology is there, but I’m concerned that it isn’t reaching the people most at risk.

    • Ellie
      March 29 at 05:07PM

      Same here. I live in Germany and health insurance covers basically everything. Prenatal care, delivery in whatever way you choose or is necessary and post natal care. I had a midwife come to see me at home every single day for two weeks. How terrible to have to think about what the delivery of your baby will cost you!

  2. February 8 at 08:42AM

    For us, paying in cash got us a 10% discount. We also went through every bill with a fine tooth comb. It was still really expensive (even with insurance it cost us about $5k out of pocket), but it could have been much more expensive. We also started throwing money into an account once we got pregnant. It helped to ease the blow when we got those bills!

    • February 8 at 04:07PM

      Oooh, setting money aside early is a great idea too! Really helps make it more manageable!

  3. February 8 at 10:11AM

    Thanks for this great post, Brittany! I think a lot of people are floored by the costs when it comes to having a baby–there are a lot of things you need to make sure about, that’s for sure. 🙂 Our insurance (thankfully) paid for most everything which allowed us to pay out of pocket for a doula during the birth–best decision we’ve ever made!

    • February 8 at 04:08PM

      There really are! It’s incredible how I can ask about 1,000 times how much things will cost and what bills we should expect and we STILL get unexpected bills from different sources every time. You would think by the 3rd kid we’d be a pro, but they always come up with something!

  4. February 8 at 02:18PM

    Great post. Very informative. I have also heard where some insurances will pay for breast pumps if mom is considering breast feeding and wants to go back to work. This may be something to ask when initially talking to the insurance company

    • February 8 at 04:09PM

      Yes! I’ve heard that too! That little tip can save moms a TON of money!

    • Eloisa
      February 9 at 12:03PM

      Yep in Texas most insurances pay for a pump, sadly mine wasn’t 🙁

  5. Natalie M
    February 8 at 02:30PM

    That’s funny reading the avg cost, because I just called a Birth Center this week and their cost was going to be $8800 (plus a 20% self-pay discount). A friend recommended a home birth midwife who costs half as much. Someone once told us they charge the insurance companies more-because they can.

    • February 8 at 04:09PM

      It’s so true. I don’t know how it is everywhere, but the drs around here totally jack up the prices just so insurance can bring them back down again. It makes no sense.

    • Eloisa
      February 9 at 12:14PM

      Sounds about right. I had my baby at a birth center and it was a total of 8000 with about 2000 out of pocket.. Definitely less uncertainty about having to wait for random hospital bills to arrive

  6. February 8 at 10:03PM

    It is crazy how much medical procedures and equipment costs! I agree that you need to call you insurance company ahead of time, but make sure you take notes when you talk to them. Jot down the name of the agent you spoke to, the date, and the time, in addition to any notes. My insurance company just told me that my son’s medical equipment was 100% covered, but when I got the bill, they hadn’t covered any of it (they later said it was because I needed to meet my deductible). If you disagree or have a discrepancy, the insurance company should be able to review your initial call. My insurance company ended up paying for my son’s entire bill because they agreed that the original agent provided incorrect information.

    It’s sad that you have to be so careful, but both hospitals and insurance companies bill incorrectly all the time. I was also charged for resuscitation when my son was born, but he was healthy and didn’t need to be resuscitated!

    • February 9 at 08:57PM

      I so wish I had done this. We’re dealing with this same issue right now. I have the names and dates of everyone I spoke to after the birth, but not the name of the person I originally called to get the quote. It’s a nightmare.

  7. February 8 at 11:23PM

    All of these tips are fantastic! I love the tip about payment plans! Thank you so much for sharing these eye opening tips!

  8. February 9 at 05:16AM

    Great tips Brittany! One of my good friends required an emergency C-section and her baby was in the NICU for several days. They had good insurance and still paid $10,000 when all was said and done! I can’t imagine!!
    Fortunately (?) we are a military family living overseas. I am currently 38+ weeks pregnant and I feel so blessed to know 100% of the medical expenses are covered for my prenatal care and labor/delivery. Yes, our health care is limited to a military hospital, but being overseas I wouldn’t want to go elsewhere anyway. lol.
    When we first found out about our pregnancy, I did a little research and read that the first year of baby’s life is typically a $20K-$30K expense! We decided right then and there that we would set our budget at $1000. So far we have been able to stay on track! We’ve spent less than $100 so far and our baby boy should be arriving any day!
    I will be sharing your post! Thanks so much for your great insight! 🙂

    • February 9 at 08:58PM

      That’s crazy!! Babies definitely do NOT need that much stuff. I imagine that includes the hospital bills, etc, but still. Wow.

  9. Candice
    February 9 at 08:36PM

    I was shocked to read this article! I would never sacrifice mine or my baby’s health to save a few bucks! Genetic testing and blood tests can offer a lot of insight on mom and baby’s health. Lots of normally healthy people can have complications arise during pregnancy that might not otherwise be detected. No one would ever agree that their health and well being was ultimately worth sacrificing for a few dollars. And who on earth would consider going through a natural childbirth to save a few bucks?!? That is a very personal decision…. cheap men everywhere are bound to find this article somehow and use this as a vehicle.

    • February 9 at 09:02PM

      Hi, Candace. Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean to skip necessary tests and procedures. I only mean skipping tests that you know have nothing to do with you, but that are just done routinely. Obviously, consult your doctor to find out what those are, but for many women, there are plenty of interventions that can be done that really don’t have to be.

      And as for going drug-free–yes, it’s definitely a personal choice, but if you’re on the fence, the savings are definitely a big perk! I had all three of my babies epidural-free (the last two were completely natural) and while it isn’t for everyone, I simply can’t imagine paying hundreds of dollars for an epidural that I really did not need. But to each her own! As long as mom and baby are safe and happy, that’s what really matters.

  10. February 10 at 04:58AM

    Sounds like Australia and Canada are the place to be for having babies. I’ve only had to pay for one ultrasound this time, and last time the same I think, even though I ended up having an epidural and an emergency C-section.

  11. Chris
    February 12 at 04:30PM

    If the insurance denies stuff, just keep calling even before a formal appeal. You can always get the insurance commission of your state involved. Insurance companies like to make life difficult for you hoping you give up and they don’t have to pay their due. I had quite some time getting Aetna to pay for the anesthesia for my son’s hernia surgery. They gave all sorts of crazy reasons, but after the fifth or sixth call, I got it taken care of. Sometimes they won’t pay if the wrong billing code is used. Ask the insurance company about the billing code and if the doctors or hospital can submit it under a different code. Just don’t give up!

    • Heather
      January 29 at 10:50AM

      Was your son circumcised?

  12. Hope
    February 13 at 10:41AM

    I’m with Amy P! I’m not Canadian, but in my country the state pays for childbirth and postnatal care (like she said, we pay it in taxes). How sad it would be to think about blood tests in terms of money, or take money into consideration when needing epidural. Sigh of relief…

  13. Nonkosi
    March 18 at 01:26AM

    After spending so much to conceive our baby, we opted to use reusable diapers.
    It was economical cos we bought them directly from the manufacture.
    Also i am breastfeeding, which is free and best for the baby.
    And ill prepare my baby her own solid food not just to save but to eat healthy organic food.

  14. Jen
    August 1 at 08:48PM

    When I had my daughter, at san francisco general hospital, she required 2.5 months in the NICU, which in my opinion, she could have come home after a week, maybe 2 max. They knew medi-cal would be footing the bill, so I think they stretched it out as long as possible (other mom’s I talked to had the same thoughts) as they were undergoing an extensive remodel and likely needed all the $ they could get.
    I received a Bill by mistake, 2.5 mos in the NICU plus all of my delivery care cost a whopping $400,000. Thank God I wasn’t responsible for any of that. Omg, I can’t Even imagine.

  15. Beth
    October 23 at 11:57PM

    You did not mention home birth. Among other personal reasons, I am choosing to have a home birth with baby #3 because it is way cheaper than a hospital birth. My midwife charges $3,600. Not only is it cheaper, the prenatal care I’m receiving with my midwife is better beyond compare than the care I got in a medical hospital with my first two babies. This is a great option for naturally minded, low-risk women.

  16. Tanya
    December 11 at 08:11AM

    Glad I’m Canadian!

  17. December 18 at 01:30PM

    Great article EXCEPT for the advice to skip bloodwork on your thyroid if you don’t have any symptoms. Not a good idea. You can have problems with your thyroid and have NO symptoms. Hypo or hyper-thyroidism is common in pregnancy because in the first few months baby relies solely on Mom’s and if it isn’t functioning properly it can lead to miscarriage. So in all honesty it’s a test you don’t want to skimp on despite cost.

  18. R
    January 19 at 10:13AM

    I think when cutting costs it is necessary to go back to the basics, when the first human was born God didn’t send a huge babies r us falling down out of the sky, or tell Adam and Eve to create a colossal registry. When Jesus was born, God didn’t send him into the world with top neurosurgeons and Mary didn’t use an epidural. Just because things have been invented doesn’t mean that they are necessary to the child birth and child rearing process. I think that the best way to save money when having a baby is for parents to educate themselves through articles like these and watching you tube videos on childbirth. My sister opted for a home birth and things worked out fine. But if I had, had a home birth with any of my children my children and I would be dead right now. I had a friend try a home birth and not only did she have to pay the midwife but she ended up paying the ambulance fee and the hospital for an emergency C-section without insurance. So if I ever attempted a “home” birth I would sit in a clean air conditioned or heated camper or van with a bed in the back right across the hospital parking lot so that I could receive quick medical aid if things went south and at least skip the ambulance fee. I would monitor my blood pressure and heart rate and rent a baby Doppler to monitor the baby’s heart rate and blood pressure also.

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