Guest Blog by Maria Peterson, an early education specialist who writes about advocating for head start schools.
The average birth in the U.S. costs $30,000, reports the Washington Post, but you could pay even more if you need a C-section, or if your pregnancy includes complications. If you don’t have insurance, that figure might as well be a million dollars. Before you decide to wait and visit the doctor when your baby is ready to come into the world, consider this reminder from womenshealth.gov: babies who don’t receive prenatal care are around three times more likely to have a low birth weight, and five times more likely to die than babies who do receive adequate and proper prenatal care. You and the child growing inside you need medical care, and several insurance options are available for you and your unborn baby.
Call a Pregnancy Center
Call your local pregnancy center, and share your dilemma. They’re experienced and have resources to guide you. Several options available could include a low-fee doctor or clinic. Center workers can also help you apply for medical assistance. With these resources, you and your baby are more likely to stay healthy.
Visit Planned Parenthood
With an emphasis on reproductive health, Planned Parenthood in some communities provides medical services for pregnant women like you. Find a location near you, then call to discuss your medical options, and receive advice about how to finance your prenatal care.
Apply for Medicaid
Forty percent of U.S. births are covered by Medicaid. You may qualify for the program, too, and can receive free or low-cost medical treatment for both you and your baby. Contact your local Department of Welfare for an application. On it, you’ll need to verify your:
- Household size
Contact a Doctor
Even without insurance, your doctor may have prenatal care resources available for you. Because you’ll be visiting him or her at least once a month, call the office closest to you, and discuss your financial situation. Available resources may include:
- Discounted prenatal testing and blood work
- Reduced labor and delivery charges
- Payment plans
Consider a Midwife
Obstetricians are doctors who specialize in pregnancy and delivery. Likewise, WebMD lists Certified Professional Midwives, Certified Nurse Midwives, Direct-Entry Midwives, and Lay Midwives as professionally trained prenatal and delivery providers. Typically, midwives spend more time with patients during prenatal visits and don’t charge as much as obstetricians do. When you call a local midwife to set up the initial consultation, talk about your financial situation. A payment plan can be arranged to cover the costs of your prenatal care and delivery.
Investigate Life Insurance
Your term or whole life insurance policy won’t pay for your birthing experience. It will, however, ensure your child is taken care of financially if something would happen to you. A life insurance company helps you plan for disasters, as it offers financial resources your new child.
Apply for WIC
Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC, provides healthcare referrals and nutritional assistance to your growing baby before and after birth. While this program isn’t insurance that could pay for your baby’s birth, it does provide whole grains, dairy, protein, and cheese that help you and your baby stay healthy. When you’re healthy, your pregnancy is more likely to proceed normally and cost less.
The Affordable Care Act
If you decide to participate in a new Affordable Care Act plan, there are many benefits for women. These new plans allow you to see an ob-gyn without a referral from another doctor and all new plans will cover maternity care. Insurance providers can no longer charge women more for insurance than men and can’t deny you for pre-existing conditions that pertain to the female gender, such as a Cesarean section, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Women also have other healthcare benefits added, such as depression screenings, domestic violence help and coverage for a mammogram every two years, according to ObamaCareFacts.com.