Prepay For Maternity Care, Save Money

paid in full
Photo by seanmcgrath modified via  cc.
Photo by seanmcgrath modified via cc.

Looking for ways to save money for both mom and baby? You might want to consider the cost-saving choice I made–prepaying for maternity care. Many hospitals and gynecology offices offer this option, and you’ll find it can be an excellent value, particularly for those of us without health insurance covering maternity costs.

 Security Equals Savings            

The cost savings available for those who prepay their maternity care is definitely a worthwhile alternative to paying as you go. Your hospital and/or your doctor know that they will be paid for their services ahead of time. This security translates into what can be substantial savings for. On average, we’ve seen a reduction of about one-half to one-third the cost of the childbirth experiencePackages may include a set number of prenatal care visits, labor and delivery, and postpartum care, or they may cover only your labor and delivery charges. You won’t know until you ask.

 Talk it Over

So who do you ask? Start with your doctor. Some ob-gyns offer prepayment plans directly through their offices in conjunction with the hospital or hospitals they work with. Others will simply offer patients a referral to the hospital they use.  In some cases, separate plans will be available from both your doctor and hospital.

 Some Conditions Apply

Plans offered through a selected hospital may be based on your doctor’s assessment of your needs. In other words, if your ob-gyn expects a normal vaginal birth, you’ll be offered a prepayment for that type of delivery. If your doctor stipulates a cesarean section (C-section), or notes multiple births, you may be offered a plan based on those situations.

In some cases, these prepaid plans only cover an uncomplicated vaginal birth. In other cases, if your doctor has indicated that a C-section is mandatory or expected, you can set up a prepayment plan to cover that option. You may also find multiple birth coverage available at a higher rate.

 What Happens with Complications?

So, you prepaid for a vaginal delivery. But your little bundle of joy ended up requiring a C-section, and a longer hospital stay for you. Is your prepayment plan worthless?

Birth is not the most predictable process, and most hospitals recognize that circumstances beyond anyone’s cost-cutting control can happen in the delivery room. So, most will honor your prepayment, and adjust your plan to meet the prepaid price indicated for a C-section as an add on. You can pay the additional fee after discharge. One caveat: hospitals customarily allow only a one or two month grace period to pay this additional cost, and if it’s left unpaid, full fees, or what the hospital would normally charge without a prepayment plan in place,  may be charged. Ouch.

When to Pay

Almost uniformly, prepaid maternity care must be completed by the eighth month of pregnancy. This flat fee isn’t required in one swoop, it can usually be paid in installments. Unlike paying-as-you-go throughout your pregnancy and delivery, you are only paying that one agreed upon flat fee, broken into reasonable installments.

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