child birth without insurance
MOST HELPFUL POSTS
It's complicated, but you can do it. Unfortunately, due to pre-existing conditions I could never get insurance until the AHA was passed.
Doctors have "permissions" at certain hospitals. They usually have at least 2 or 3 hospitals where they can perform births, but they cannot just go to any hospital they like, so if you have already chosen an OB you will be limited to those hospitals, but if not, you can choose the hospital first.
Call the hospitals (it will take some phone work--you will NOT get through to the person who can tell you rates very easily, and it may take a few calls). Ask them what their fees related to pregnancy are--you will have tons of little fees: The labor room, the recovery room, meals, medications, blankets & hat for the baby, monitoring system for the baby, the nursery fee for the baby, and many more. They will not be able to give you an exact amount because they cannot predict what services you will need, but you can ask them average total for a normal, healthy birth, then ask them to break it down for you into those individual fees. You will become more informed with each phone call, so take notes. (Plus it's just a ton of info to go through).
You might also want to consider a birthing center as opposed to a hospital. They are often thousands of dollars less expensive, and the level of care for healthy births is parallel to that of the hospital. They can do it for less because that is ALL they do.
Once you've chosen a hospital or birthing center, you will need to choose an OB if you do not already have one. The birthing center will be happy to give you a list of OBs who practice with them. The hospital will not, so if you choose a hospital you just have to go to the phone book and start calling local OB's. Ask each one if they can deliver at the hospital you have chosen. If they can, you can start the interview process with them to make sure that you are comfortable with them and will have a good relationship. OB charges don't really vary that much, you should ask what their fees are, but don't base your decision on that alone.
Next you will have to choose a pediatrician for your baby. Your baby will receive a battery of tests, exams, and treatments from a pediatrician at the hospital. If you have not chosen a pediatrician, the one on staff that day will do them and you will have no control over the charges. Follow the same method you used for choosing an OB--ask about hospitals they can work in, ask for average fees for births, and make sure you are comfortable with the doctors in the group.
You will also need an anesthesiologist. Few hospitals let you pick, most will just require you to use whoever is working the hospital and available at the time. Their fees are pretty universal though, so I wouldn't worry about it.
You can cut your costs by preparing for a "natural" birth and foregoing the epidural. Also, keep your stay as short as possible. Bring your own OTC pain killers (like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.) You will need them, and the hospital can charge up to $30 per pill for these OTC meds. Just make sure you are only taking the ones your doc recommends. If the hospital allows it, have a friend bring in meals for you and forego their meals--it will taste much better and be much less expensive. Drink water, those juices are good, but they cost about $15 each.
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