In the wake of landmark healthcare reform attempts, if you are planning to have a baby or you are already pregnant, it can be very tricky to find out how much it costs to have a baby.
In the U.S. a family is facing the highest birthing costs of all the first-world countries, so the fact that maternity and newborn care are required to be covered by Obamacare insurance can only be good news. Obamacare or not, you can still receive the best care for you and your infant and keep the costs at a minimum if you follow some simple steps.
So How Much Does it Cost to Have a Baby?
When figuring out the costs of having a baby keep in mind that you won’t have to pay just to give birth. Other expenses you will be faced with will include prenatal care associated with pregnancy, tests, and regular check-ups at the least. Recent studies have shown that the average price of having a baby when using the vaginal delivery procedure will cost somewhere between $5,000 and $12,000 in most US states.
This price should include the whole duration of care, along with the fee for the obstetrician, prenatal care-related expenses, the fee for anesthesiologist, as well as hospital stay fees. When it comes to C-section birth (Cesarean), it will range between $7,500 and $16,000. Regardless of whether you’re getting a C-section or a vaginal birth, if any complications arise, you will be charged more for childbirth.
Of course, these costs aren’t taking into account the health insurance plan you’re under when you have a baby. So even though these average costs are real, you might manage to pay considerably less. While some types of health insurance plans will take most of the burden of paying your bill from you when you’re having a baby, others will only cover a certain percentage of the total price. When going over state-specific data, the information becomes even clearer.
Average Cost of Having a Baby by State
As you might expect, although the average costs of having a baby in the U.S. are pretty clear, these will be pretty different depending on your state. Some of the most important factors to influence the final bill you will pay for childbirth are whether you are under a health insurance plan, the type of birth delivery you’re going for, as well as the cost of living in your state, among others. So, although you will spend somewhere between $4,000 and $22,000 on childbirth in the US, let’s go over two states that are known to have the lowest and highest childbirth costs.
Alabama is the state known to have the lowest childbirth cost. Getting a vaginal delivery with insurance will cost $4,900, while one without insurance will be closer to $9,000. When it comes to C-section deliveries, these will be considerably higher in terms of costs for both those covered by insurance and those without insurance coverage.
Alaska is among the states with the highest childbirth costs. You will spend close to $20,000 if you aren’t insured while having insurance coverage will help you reduce this price to half.
Keep in mind that these costs will only cover the baby being born. After the baby is brought into this world, there will be other expenses you should consider, as well. Among the most important ones are those related to childcare and possibly an increase in rent expenses, as you might need a bigger living space.
Although you should expect childcare costs to also differ based on the state in which you are living, you should still expect to spend around $6,500 to $12,000. Rent, on the other hand, will easily cost $1,000 to $3,500 per month, although it isn’t unusual to spend more than that. So regardless of your state, you should be ready to spend at least $16,500 to $34,000 per month after you’ve had a baby.
Why does it cost so much to have a baby?
The very high cost of a pregnancy is due to multiple factors. A concerning aspect is that before Obamacare was launched, many plans provided inadequate care or no care at all for maternity, says Childbirth Connection, the organization that aids women make informed decisions regarding health care. As we move forward in time, more out-of-pocket costs will decrease as more newborn and maternity care will be covered by insurance, as required by the law.
A report by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services from 2011 showed that each hospital or birthing center gets to set its own prices as health care is billed per service in the U.S. A lot of small charges will add up very quickly for childbirth, which is a complicated admission as seen by the medical staff. Another aspect that increases the overall costs is the fact that nonprofit entities are converting into for-profit hospitals that will charge more for all of their services.
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How Health Insurance Affects the Cost of Childbirth
According to federal law, both pregnancy and maternity care are covered by health insurance. Of course, this is a requirement that only stands under two key exceptions. The first thing is that you are able to stay in your parent’s healthcare plan until you reach the age of 26. This will cover pregnancy and maternity care, but won’t represent coverage for either newborn care or delivery.
This doesn’t cover delivery and newborn care, but it covers pregnancy and maternity care. The second aspect is that you won’t be guaranteed coverage for maternity care or pregnancy if you’re under a grandfathered health plan that was created before March 23, 2010.
When trying to figure out exactly how much of your pregnancy and following childbirth costs will be covered by your specific health insurance plan, you should consider coinsurance, copays, and deductibles associated with your particular plan, because these will also affect the amount covered.
There is another factor you should also consider when figuring out the number of medical costs your plan covers. This is how much you have actually paid towards your health plan’s out-of-pocket spending limit. And of course, expect your plan’s provider network to have a say in the number of costs covered, in the sense that the network should include the doctors and hospitals you are using.
What can I do to lower the cost of having my baby ahead of time?
Having a child is something that should be prepared well in advance. There are a few different ways in which you could try to get ahead of the game.
The first thing you need to look for is a high-value pregnancy provider. Then research to find out if you’re covered by insurance. You can have multiple maternity benefits if your plan is compliant with Obamacare requirements. For all of the other plans, like a grandfathered plan, find out exactly what will be covered by your insurance: You could even be out of luck and find out that your insurance won’t cover the pregnancy costs at all.
The next step is to check all of your delivery options. When you have the option to pick one of the multiple hospitals, check each one’s costs and if any of them are non-profit entities. It may be your job to investigate because most hospitals are not required and will not publish their fees unless mandated by your state or county.
At the end of the day, you might spend even less than the fees offered by the hospitals, because most of them will have contracted rates set up with insurance companies. For the uninsured, do try to negotiate the rates as you could decrease your bill a lot this way.
Cutting back on unnecessary purchases can also help you save a lot of money. Of course, you will have more money to invest toward childbirth medical costs as you cut back on buying things you don’t need. To make sure nothing happens to your money, you should keep them in an emergency fund. A high-yield savings account should work.
Of course, smart people plan financially a way out of the expense of having a child in advance. If you’re saving money for a child, you can make sure you will be prepared for any added costs, just like going on a vacation or saving for a wedding. As the child grows, the costs related to their living will grow quite a lot.
It is always worth it to talk to a financial advisor before working on having a baby.
How will all of these influence the average Joe or Jane?
Will all of the costs be worth it in the end?
Of course, they will. Having a baby is one of the most rewarding experiences someone will live in their life. These costs will only be paid once and then you will have the family you always wanted.
What do these costs mean for an average working Joe or Jane?
If your insurance will cover it and you have a salary of around $6,206 you will only need under a month’s earnings to get the $2,200 natural birth or the $2,700 cesarean one. It’s something you could afford to pay in a month or gather in smaller chunks in two to three months.
If you are not insured, you should start saving for the event, but if you start to save money in time, you will have enough for the procedure. Don’t get services that are too cheap. Your health and your newborn’s well-being are all that matter in the end.