Nearly 3.9 million women in the United States give birth each year, and new births don’t come cheap. Even for those lucky enough to experience healthy pregnancies, hefty expenses for prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care can (and often do) arise. Worst of all, 12% of women of childbearing age have no insurance to cushion the blow of these costs.
If you’re one of them, how much should you expect to pay to give birth without insurance coverage?
counting the costs
What you’ll end up paying for childbirth without insurance largely depends on the state you live in, the cost of living, and the type of delivery: vaginal or C-section. the average cost of having a baby without complications ranges from almost $5,000 to $11,000 for a vaginal delivery. this could exceed $30,000 if you include care provided before and after pregnancy, such as checkups and tests.
Women are increasingly likely to have a more expensive C-section. Pregnant women today have C-sections 500 times more often than women did in the 1970s, and C-sections cost between $7,500 and $14,500, nearly 150% more than vaginal deliveries on average. checkups, tests, and complications will only add to these numbers.
Although the exact amounts tend to differ by location, the cost of not having health insurance can almost double the out-of-pocket costs of having a baby. hospitals often charge uninsured patients much more than they charge those covered by public and private plans. Women in Alabama see the lowest costs, around $4,884 for a vaginal delivery with insurance and $9,013 without insurance. On the other hand, women in Alaska pay about $10,681 to deliver a baby with coverage and $19,775 without insurance.
expenses to expect
From the first appointment with the gynecologist, expectant mothers have an average of seven to 12 prenatal visits. These appointments and tests might include:
- doctor visits: $90 – $500 per appointment
- hcg test: $39
- ultrasound: $280 – $600
- amniocentesis: $2500
- blood tests: $39 – $63 each
- chorionic villus sampling (cvs): $1,300 – $4,800
- amniocentesis: $1,000 – $7,200
- negotiate payments up front: ask for a discount, especially if you can make full payments up front.
- Establish a payment plan: Your hospital ombudsman can explain your options if you are unable to pay your hospital bills. they may offer a hospital indemnity policy, which will cover limited pregnancy benefits compared to a major medical plan.
- check bills for hidden costs and errors: check and confirm each charge before paying the provider.
- Call for legal help: If you’ve been denied the prenatal care coverage you think you’re entitled to, call Cover Her, the National Women’s Law Center hotline.
- Choose an alternative to the hospital: Home births and birthing centers are becoming more popular, and these options could save you thousands of dollars if your pregnancy is low-risk.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program(Chip) can help you find low-cost health care if you’re not eligible for Medicaid.
- women, infants and children (wic) provides food and health care referrals for pregnant and postpartum women in need.
- text4baby sends free weekly text messages to pregnant women and new mothers to help them manage their health.
- maternal and child health office provides information on health insurance and medical support for pregnant women.
- pregnancy resource centers offer medical services, counseling, and connections to local financial resources.
After delivery, postpartum care is likely to incur additional costs. New mothers can experience a wide range of serious ailments after giving birth, including infections, 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 much more.
price outside the insurance
See also: Emergency Medical Coverage – Squaremouth
Among uninsured adults, nearly three in four reported being uninsured because they couldn’t afford the cost of coverage. many do not have access to coverage through their employers or are unable to pay their share of the premiums. In 2019, 72.5% of uninsured workers said their employer didn’t offer health benefits.
Among workers who are offered coverage at their jobs, cost often prevents them from taking advantage of the opportunity. workers’ share of family coverage premiums has increased by 40%, much faster than wage growth.
in the coverage gap
Millions of women and their families earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough to get tax credits for marketplace premiums. the dilemma, known as the coverage gap, affects 12% of uninsured women. This problem is especially prevalent in states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
enigma for immigrants
Legal immigrants below 400% of the poverty level may qualify for Marketplace tax credits. however, they must have passed the specified period after receiving qualified immigration status. however, undocumented immigrants cannot receive any Medicaid or Marketplace coverage.
coverage can be confusing
Some uninsured people who qualify for help may not be aware of coverage options. they may find the selection process too complicated and give up getting a plan at all. ACA’s outreach programs are understaffed and in high demand, leading to less accessibility to information for some women.
are you really covered?
About 4.2 million women ages 19 to 25 rely on their parents’ health insurance plans. Although you can stay on your parents’ insurance until age 26, regardless of your marital status, you may still find yourself bearing the brunt of your prenatal care expenses. insurance plans from large employers do not have to comply with the provisions of ACA that require insurers to cover pregnant women.
The law’s essential health benefit provisions only apply to plans offered by companies with fewer than 50 employees and individual health care plans, a small percentage of plans nationwide. Unless required by state law, employers with self-insured health plans are exempt from offering maternity care. college student health plans may cover prenatal and delivery services, but you may need to pay up front and be reimbursed.
tips for managing maternity care expenses
Whether your pregnancy is planned or a surprise, getting your finances in order can ease the stress that the uncertainties of expectation can bring. anticipate potential costs and look for ways to reduce or spread them. Here are some ways to lighten the financial burden of childbirth:
useful resources for pregnant women
Being pregnant with limited financial resources can be extremely stressful. Fortunately, several federal, state, and local organizations are prepared to offer a wide range of supports:
can you get health insurance after getting pregnant?
Thanks to ACA, health insurers can’t deny you coverage or charge you more for premiums if you’re already pregnant. If your or your partner’s employer offers health insurance, you can get better coverage at a better price. You can also find affordable coverage through the health insurance marketplace. If your income is low, you may be eligible for Medicaid.
Employer and Marketplace plans generally require you to enroll during their open enrollment period. If you experience what’s called a qualifying life event, like moving to a different state or losing other health coverage, you may qualify for a special enrollment period. Unfortunately, pregnancy does not qualify as a life event, but childbirth does. however, Medicaid allows you to join at any time. we at truecoverage can help you determine the best option.
In 47 states, pregnancy-related Medicaid covers benefits similar to Medicaid for other adults and is considered minimum essential coverage. in arkansas, idaho, and south dakota, pregnancy-related medicaid is limited to maternity care. If you enroll in pregnancy-related Medicaid in the other 47 states, you will no longer qualify for premium tax credits while enrolled in Medicaid. In all states, however, you’ll qualify for a special enrollment period for Marketplace coverage and premium tax credits after your pregnancy and pregnancy-related health insurance ends.
prenatal care should not be optional
With or without health insurance, prenatal care is essential for you and your developing baby. Regular medical care helps detect problems early and reduces the possibility and impact of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Under the supervision of an obstetrician, you will learn how to control existing conditions that could lead to dangerous problems without attention.
Having a health care plan will ease the financial burden and uncertainty of pregnancy and childbirth. At truecoverage, we give you access to hundreds of affordable, comprehensive insurance options. The sooner you’re covered by health insurance, the more likely you’ll be able to get all the prenatal care you need to ensure the best outcome. Contact us today to find the perfect plan for you and your growing family.
photo by rene asmussen from pexels