Over 41 million Americans have no health insurance and many of those who are insured are underinsured. Consequently, there are approximately 13% 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 insurance plans categorize pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. Medicaid, a federally-funded program for low income persons, will accept women who are already pregnant. However, for those who are not qualified to receive Medicaid, the challenge of paying prenatal visits and delivery can be burdensome. The estimated average cost of a delivery alone is $6,000 – $8,000 for a low risk pregnancy. And the cost can increase significantly for a high risk pregnancy. In many such cases, the excitement of being pregnant quickly disappears because of the worry and anxiety associated with the financial burden.
Government Funded Programs for Pregnancy Insurance
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 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
You might discover some other options depending on where you live. They include additional programs for women who are pregnant such as Medi-Cal from the state of California. You can check with your local department of health at Health Departments by State for information on which local programs are available.
WIC is a federal agency created to safeguard the health of low-income women and infants and children under the age of 5. WIC provides nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care. For more information, click on Women, Infants and Children.
Health Care Discount Programs for Maternity Coverage
There are additional alternatives to traditional health insurance and Medicaid. They include ways to negotiate discounts on your health care that can be very helpful. Be sure to contact your health care provider to find out how much of a discount you would receive if you paid cash for their services. In deciding your course of action, consider any monthly fees, deductibles, and premiums involved.
One discount service is AmeriPlan–a discount plan that is currently available in every state except Alaska. AmeriPlan can reduce the cost of health care services by up to 50% and even more in some cases. Benefits include physician, hospital, and ancillary services (i.e., lab work, tests, x-rays). Because AmeriPlan is not an insurance plan, all pre-existing conditions are covered (except orthodontic treatment in progress). And there are no deductibles, no waiting periods, no claim forms, and no annual limits. For more information you can go to AmeriPlanUSA or call them toll-free at (800) 647-8421.
Options for Managing costs with no maternity insurance
Some additional ways to help you manage your costs related to prenatal care and birth include:
- If you are delivering at a hospital, you can contact their accounting office to see if you can set up a payment plan or to find out if they offer a sliding scale. Though many hospitals offer these options, they are often overlooked by those who would benefit from knowing about them.
- If you are having an uncomplicated pregnancy, consider giving birth at a birthing center. The estimated 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 are willing to accept Medicaid.
- If you are a single parent you can go to Single Parenting: Making It Work and Doing It Alone for additional ways of saving money.
Remember to try to enjoy the time of your pregnancy without allowing financial concerns to rob you of your excitement.
Last Updated: 01/2013