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Here’s How To Figure Out What It Will Cost To Have Your Baby

There was a time when a lady payed absolutely nothing to squat down next to a tree and birth a baby into the world. But, at the same time, being eaten by a bear during labor was an honest concern. Also, you probably had to chew off the umbilical cord and protect the kid from being carried off by a freaking eagle. So maybe shelling out a little scratch for some birth help isn’t such a bad thing.

The question, then, becomes just how much scratch you’ll shell out for the kid’s birth. The answer to that is problematic. It depends largely on what insurance you have, and what kind of deals they’ve made with the place you’re giving birth. That said, there are guidelines to follow.

You’ve already screwed up the first one — don’t have a kid — so you might as well try to do better with the rest.

flickr / Salim Fadhley

flickr / Salim Fadhley

Cost Varies Wildly So Do Your Research

Recent studies have shown that the cost of procedures can vary by thousands dollars, even between healthcare facilities in the same neighborhood. Consider this figure: in California the cost of an uncomplicated vaginal birth could swing from $37K to $3K, before insurance. True, one of those is probably a rusted out freighter anchored in an unsavory nook of San Francisco Bay, and still reasonable for $37K. Man, that place is expensive.

What you will definitely want to understand, like way before the due date, is what your health facility charges for a birth these days. You can do that by calling them up and asking them. Granted, this will only be an estimate. Infants have this annoying habit of “complicating” things when coming into this world. But at least you’ll have a ballpark figure to expect.

Your Insurance Must Cover Birth (Mostly)

The next people you’ll want to talk to are the friendly, totally reasonable saints from your insurance company. Because while insurance companies are  required to cover the birth of your kid (thanks, Obamacare) the feds never stipulated exactly what they have to cover (thanks … Obamacare?).

flickr / bengarrison

flickr / bengarrison

So go ahead and run down the list of stuff your healthcare facility will charge you for and ask what they’ll be covering. Now reconcile the lists. Congratulations! You are a financial wizard, and that pointy hat made of pure money looks amazing on you!

But Wait. There’s More!

After your partner gives birth, you might think it’ll take a really long time to get screwed again. Good news! It’ll probably happen almost immediately. Bad News! It’ll probably be by the hospital or insurance company.

After you’ve taken a good amount of time to love your beautiful new family, it’s time to gather up the hospital bills that have been quietly accumulating in the mail pile. You’re going on a hunt for errors.

You may not want to do this, but hospitals are not perfect. Sometimes things get charged that shouldn’t be charged. Luckily, most hospitals will cop to it if you bring it to their attention.

flickr / Mat Culpepper

flickr / Mat Culpepper

Other Things To Consider

If you’ve read the above, you have the basics down (and you also have really amazing taste in parenting articles). But there are a few other things that you’ll want to keep in mind. They are include in the following bullets at no additional charge.

  • HSAs Are Awesome: If you don’t already have a health insurance account, you’ll want to get one. Ideally before you even get pregnant. You can fill this sucker up and use it to pay later. Tax free! Like Apple!
  • Things Can Go Sideways: An unexpected (or even expected) cesarian will cost you more. As will any additional interventions for your partner or the kid. So watch out for that.
  • Beware The Premium Double Tap: If your kid is going to be delivered around the new year, there is a good chance that the costs of the birth could be split between to insurance years, meaning you’d be paying against your premium twice. And you thought birth was painful.
  • Every Birth Is Different: You can’t get a really good idea of how much the birth will cost by talking to friends and family. Due to the extreme variations between insurance, medical billing and what goes down during the birth, everyone’s circumstance will be different. So do your own leg work. At least then yours won’t be broken when you’re unable to pay the loan shark you contacted to cover the cost of your kids birth.