Over 41 million Americans have no health insurance and many of those whoare insured are underinsured. Consequently, there are approximately13% of women who become pregnant each year who are without health insurance,often resulting in inadequate prenatal care.
Another challenge facing uninsured pregnant women is that some insuranceplans categorize pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. Medicaid, a federally-fundedprogram for low income persons, will accept women who are already pregnant.However, for those who are not qualified to receive Medicaid, the challengeof paying prenatal visits and delivery can be burdensome. The estimatedaverage cost of a delivery alone is $6,000 – $8,000 for a low riskpregnancy. And the cost can increase significantly for a high risk pregnancy.In many such cases the excitement of being pregnant quickly disappears becauseof the worry and anxiety associated with the financial burden.
Goverment Funded Programs
Medicaid is a state run program that is federally funded.Medicaid offers medical assistance to low-income families and individuals.To locate an office near you go to Centersfor Medicare & Medicaid Services.
You might discover some other options depending on where you live. Theyinclude additional programs for women who are pregnant such as Medi-calfrom the state of California. You can check with your local department ofhealth at Health Departments byState for information on which local programs are available.
WIC is a federal agency created to safeguard the healthof low-income women and infants and children under the age of 5. WIC providesnutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, andreferrals to health care. For more information, click on Women,Infants and Children.
Join the American Pregnancy Association
You can get access to a variety of health benefits by joining the AmericanPregnancy Association. Though the APA does not offer insurance, the organizationoffers significant discounts on a variety of health products and services.Through the APA, you will have the ability to call a nurse or doctor todiscuss your medical concerns any time day or night. To learn more abouthow to become an APA member and the products and services offered, simplyclick on APAMembership.
Health Care Discount Programs
There are additional alternatives to traditional health insurance and Medicaid.They include ways to negotiate discounts on your health care that can bevery helpful. Be sure to contact your health care provider to find out howmuch of a discount you would receive if you paid cash for their services.In deciding your course of action, consider any monthly fees, deductiblesand premiums involved.
One example of a discount service is AmeriPlan–a discountplan that is currently available in every state except Alaska. AmeriPlancan reduce the cost of health care services up to 50% and even more in somecases. Their benefits include physician, hospital, and ancillary services(i.e., lab work, tests, x-rays). Since AmeriPlan is not an insurance plan,all pre-existing conditions are covered (except orthodontic treatment inprogress). And there are no deductibles, no waiting periods, no claim forms,and no annual limits. For more information you can go to AmeriPlanUSAor call them toll-free at (800) 647-8421.
OTHER OPTIONS FOR MANAGING HEALTHCARE COSTS
Some additional ways to help you manage your costs related to prenatalcare and birth include:
If you are delivering at a hospital, you can contact their accounting officeto see if you can set up a payment plan or to find out if they offer a slidingscale. Though many hospitals offer these options, they are often overlookedby those who would benefit from knowing about them.
If you are having an uncomplicated pregnancy, consider giving birth ata birthing center. Theestimated cost of delivery and prenatal care at a birthing center is about$3,000 – $4,000 which is half of what it would cost at a hospital.Many birthing centers also provide sliding scales, payment plans, and arewilling to accept Medicaid.
Remember to try to enjoy the time of your pregnancy without allowing financialconcerns to rob you of your excitement.
Last Updated: 01/2013