Navigating medical bills and insurance can be mind boggling, especially when it pertains to pregnancy, childbirth, and aftercare. With my first born we had pretty good insurance with an 80/20 split. We ended up paying around $1600 out of pocket to the hospital. I did almost have a heart attack when I read the itemized bill. Some of the highlights (more like LOW lights) were: $32 for each ibuprofen pill, $16 for a can of topical pain relieving spray, $225 for a breast pump accessory kit, $30 for a tube of hydro-cortisone cream and $16 for witch hazel pads.
They literally charge you for EVERYTHING. nothing is free in hospital land. This time I have wised up & have also come up with some other ways to save:
–medical care is NEGOTIABLE. this was proven true when my Obstetrician erroneously scheduled a diagnostic ultrasound too early & we were unable to see what we needed to, leaving us to pay out of pocket for an additional u/s. I spoke with the billing rep who got with the u/s tech and she agreed it was made in error & agreed to only charge us for 1 ultrasound. Lesson: ask not, have not. Speak up. Many medical tests AREN’t necessary. Talk with your dr and find out.
–know your insurance benefits. Upon finding out I was pregnant we enrolled in our insurance carrier’s mother & baby program. This automatically made our split 90/10 instead of 80/20! They also send helpful resources such as a book on pregnancy & a nurse you can speak with 24/7. Also many carriers now have websites you can register on to see current claims, adjustments and balances. Help you to stay current on what you owe. Communicate with your dr & insurance. If you don’t understand a charge, ASK! I’ve had issues where I was sent a bill due to a claim that wasn’t filed properly & I had to do the legwork to have it resubmitted, and eventually it was paid. Many people just don’t question what they’re paying.
–ask for a discount. Hospital stays and surgery are especially costly. If you get a bill after insurance has paid out & you truly can’t afford it, ask for a discount, set up a payment plan, or in dire situations, ask for your care to be categorized as charity, meaning it’s “written off” and you won’t owe.
Bottom line is to take your time when dealing with medical bills, stay organized, keep receipts & records and good luck navigating a crazy world of insurance.