The quickest way to experience instant sticker shock? Open your hospital bill after giving birth. While hospital fees and insurance coverage vary, having a vaginal birth can set women back anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 on average. Those dollar amounts jump dramatically for C-sections, too.
To help you enjoy new parenthood without panicking over the price of it, we’ve compiled five simple ways to save big on hospital births.
Ask for support – and discounts
Once you’ve decided on your hospital, ask if there’s a financial advisor on staff. He or she can walk you through the costs associated with labor and delivery – and talk to you about any discounts that may be available. For instance, some hospitals may waive a percentage of their fees if you pay a lump sum in cash.
Understand what you’re paying for
Before your due date, make certain you understand what your hospital bill will entail. Some hospitals may charge several hundred dollars extra for a private room and even a small fee for daily TV use. You may even find that personal care items (mesh panties for post-birth, maternity pads, etc.) rack up exorbitant fees. Talk to hospital staff about their policies for bringing in your own over-the-counter medications and toiletry items.
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Your maternity ward may be chockful of free samples for the taking. Ask your nurses if there are any samples available and you may find yourself loaded up with diaper creams, nipple ointments, breastfeeding pads, and more. Trying out a few different items and brands may save you money down the line.
Have a pediatrician on-call
Be sure to research and secure your pediatrician before your due date. If you don’t have a doctor on-call, the hospital will provide you with one after your baby’s born to ensure your little one’s healthy as can be. This doctor may be out-of-network for you and cost you more money than someone you brought in yourself.
Scrutinize your bill
Once you’ve received your hospital bill, take your time going over it thoroughly. Billing errors are a dime a dozen and you may be paying for a service you never received. Request an itemized statement that details every procedure, test, and medication both you and your little one received. Go over this statement carefully and be sure to call the billing office if you notice an error in charges.