Preparing for a new baby is exciting, but handling hospital delivery costs can be overwhelming. Sharon Vance, UnityPoint Health billing supervisor and parent, helps explain what to expect and offers some advice.
4 Types of Expenses
The cost of having a baby is high because new parents are paying the cost for two people in the hospital, both mom and baby. Paying those bills is well worth it, as mom and baby will have a team of nurses and providers available at any moment there is a need or a question. There are four types of expenses new parents can expect as part of their hospital delivery cost.
- Equipment charges for baby. Nurses and providers monitor the baby’s heart during the entire labor period to ensure everything goes smoothly. Immediate action can be taken, if providers notice a change in vital signs.
- Equipment charges for mom. The care team also uses equipment to monitor the mother’s vital signs (blood pressure and heart rate) every 15-30 minutes.
- Delivery room items, usually covered by insurance. Insurance is charged with everything used in the delivery room. This could include diapers, wipes, nose bulb, petroleum jelly, extra breast pumping supplies and formula (should you choose to use those items).
- Delivery room items not covered by insurance. Some delivery room items will be billed to insurance but won’t be covered by insurance. This could include sanitary pads and disposable underwear.
“The birth certificate is also rarely covered by insurance plans, and while the nurses and staff try to let new parents know about the expense, in the excitement of everything, new parents sometimes overlook that conversation,” Vance says.
4 Types of Bills
Many of the bills parents get for a new baby hospital stay come in different envelopes. It might sound complicated, but there’s a reason it’s done that way.
- Hospital bill for baby
- Hospital bill for mom
- Provider bill (could be multiple, if mom was seen by more than one provider)
- Anesthesiologist bill (should mom use pain management during labor)
“Mom and baby are two different people with different care. If there happens to be complications for either mom or baby, one could be discharged before the other, and it complicates the billing process with insurance coverage to bill the accounts together,” Vance says.
4 Pieces of Advice
- Pay bills ahead of time, if possible. If you know you will have a copay or deductible due, then it could be in your best interest to pay it up front. This will remove some of the stress during new parent duties and will reduce the chances of forgetting a bill. If you happen to overpay on the account, you will be refunded for the amount, or it can be transferred to another account with a balance.
- Talk with the insurance company before a hospital stay. Ask them what kind of coverage is available for labor/delivery and newborn care. Ask if you have any deductible amount remaining for yourself and as a family. Many parents are unaware that the personal deductible is only a portion of the family deductible. So, if your personal deductible is met and you were the only one covered prior to baby being added, you now have a family deductible and could owe deductible charges on the baby’s account. Also, check to make sure all providers and specialist are in-network, ask what percentage of coinsurance you will owe and question what charges might not be covered.
- Expect bills within three months. However, the timeline might be extended a bit if there were any complications during the hospital stay. If bills don’t arrive in that three month period, it might be a good idea to call. Always start by calling your insurance company first.
- Take advantage of classes. UnityPoint Health offers maternity educational opportunities to teach you about different things, including finances.
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