Help For the Uninsured Mommy-to-beAlison Wood | 7, June 2013
Thousands of women everyday face what should be a joyous moment in their life with trepidation and fear. Women who do not have health coverage before becoming pregnant may experience questions and doubts like these:
"Will I be in debt for the next ten years just for this one pregnancy?"
"Will I be able to get access to top-notch healthcare?"
"Are there any options for medical coverage out there for women like me?"
Soon-to-be moms shouldn't have to face this financial stress, but so many do. We are here to help you know your options before you sign on the dotted line. There is help for the uninsured mommy-to-be!
The largest chunk of your medical bills is going to be labor, delivery and newborn care in the hospital. The average cost of your hospital stay is around 6,000 dollars. This number can vary due to medications received, complications or neonatal intensive care treatments.
Many patients are unaware that the majority of hospital systems offer a sponsorship program to patients that fall inside certain income requirements. If you are planning on being a stay-at-home mom you are at a higher advantage than other applicants. If a family is living on one primary income, they tend to have first dibs on the financial aid.
Here is one mom's account of receiving hospital sponsorship aid:
"My husband and I told the hospital we were self-pay on admission. We refused Medicaid and told them we planned on paying the bill from our income. However, we did stick our necks out and ask if there was a sponsorship program. The nurses were more than happy to get us the necessary paperwork needed to apply for the program. It was a lot of paperwork and documents, but after a few months the hospital said we were approved and paid the hospital bill in full."
The program is only open to people that are in the lower income bracket, or only have one provider in the family. It is best to check with the billing department before you register at the hospital. Some programs are only for emergency conditions, like a heart attack or broken arm. Others will aid in planned and emergency medical care. Sometimes it also depends on talking to the right person. If you think your family may be eligible, try a few different contacts before completely giving up on this option.
Health Care Discounts
Discount services help you negotiate prices with the medical system you desire to receive services from. One example is a company called AmeriPlan. Ameriplan claims to reduce the cost of health care services for up to 50% and possibly more in some cases. They work with you on physician, hospital, lab work, x-rays and other medical needs. This is not an insurance company so there are no pre-existing conditions, such as pregnancy, that are excluded from coverage. You can view additional details on their website. http://www.ameriplanusa.com
Pre-existing Conditions Insurance Plans
These are plans that are funded by the government to give coverage to people that cannot be insured because of a pre-existing condition. Conditions of this type of coverage can change due to new laws on a state or federal level, so be sure to double check the updated laws for your state before making an application for coverage. You can find additional information at https://www.pcip.gov
Medicaid is the government-funded healthcare program set-up for pregnant and nursing mothers as well as small children. Medicaid coverage will typically cover all your prenatal care as well as hospital care. The number of practitioners that accept Medicaid are limited. Many doctors complain it is slow-paying and therefore do not accept this type of payment. Most clinics work hand-in-hand with Medicaid. Check out your favorite OBGYNs and ask if they make exceptions for some patients with Medicaid coverage. You may be asked to come in for an interview or screening before you are accepted into certain OBGYN offices.
Further information about Medicaid options in your state can be found at http://www.medicaid.gov.
Some states offer birthing centers that are about half the price of an OBGYN and hospital delivery. These birthing centers are run by certified nurse midwives. The total cost of the bill is usually around 4-5,000 dollars, depending on services rendered. Different states also have different laws concerning midwifery. If you are at low-risk and plan on doing a natural, un-medicated birth, than this could be a feasible option for you. However, if you desire to have an epidural or are concerned that a C-section may lie in your near future, a mid-wife is not the route you want to take.
Before making any final financial decision, carefully weigh your desires and goals concerning the amount of healthcare you desire as well as your medical budget. There are many options. Don't quit after one closed door, keep trying!Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.
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