A positive pregnancy test often causes joy and excitement, but an uninsured woman probably experiences stress and fear about affording the prenatal care and delivery. Even a complication-free vaginal delivery and prenatal care could cost you $20,000 or more; however, there are ways to lower the costs and assistance for uninsured pregnant women.
Make Healthy Choices
Healthy lifestyle choices give your baby the best start to life. A healthy diet keeps your body fueled and gives your baby the nutrients he needs to develop. If you currently smoke or drink, try to stop both habits immediately. Both drinking and smoking can cause developmental problems for your unborn child. Prenatal care is also essential to keeping your baby healthy. It might be tempting to skip prenatal care if you don’t have insurance, but you put yourself and your baby at risk. Routine care helps identify potential problems early when they are easier to treat.
Negotiate With Providers
If you are paying cash for your prenatal and delivery costs, your care providers will likely negotiate the costs with you. Talk to your health care provider early in the pregnancy to determine if they have a payment plan. Ask for a reduction in the costs for paying in cash. Some hospitals offer a sliding fee scale based on your income, which could help reduce your financial responsibility.
Buy a Discount Plan
While you won’t qualify for a regular insurance policy, you can purchase a discount plan that will reduce your pregnancy costs. Rather than paying a deductible like an insurance plan, these programs simply lower the amount charged by the provider. AmeriPlan is one of these programs. When considering a discount program, calculate the monthly cost to participate compared with the amount you will save. If you would pay more over the course of the pregnancy just to have the policy than you would save, paying out of pocket is a better option.
If you have a limited income, assistance programs might be available. Medicaid is a federally funded program available in all states. Each state runs its own Medicaid program, so the qualifications vary slightly. Some states offer their own programs to assist pregnant women. Contact your state’s department of health or social services to determine the available programs and the qualifications. Hospitals or local charities might also offer financial assistance to low-income women who become pregnant.
Alternative birthing options often save money over a traditional hospital birth. Consider the services of a midwife for your prenatal care. Many midwives deliver at birthing centers or attend home births. This is an option only for women with normal pregnancies with a low risk of complications. Limiting the number of ultrasounds you have also helps keep your prenatal costs down.