High Costs after Routine, Healthy Birth? How to Investigate Hospital Charges
Birth is an exciting, but expensive process. Thousands of dollars can be racked up in medical costs even when the process goes smoothly and is considered routine. Many parents are surprised by these costs and can benefit from understanding the underlying circumstances that contribute to these charges and how to investigate them.
Why is it So Expensive?
Before parent even investigate charges, it’s important to understand why birth can be so pricey.
- The hospital owns many of the equipment, medications, and other necessities used in a medical birth, and charges a standard rate for the use of each item.
- While many hospital procedures look standard, they can in fact be covered differently across insurance plans.
- Medical facilities may take longer to process individual insurance claims.
- Surgery fees are often separate from other medical charges.
Investigating Hospital Charges
Research Your Insurance Plan Thoroughly
Before giving birth, parents should request a detailed description of exactly which medical costs will be covered in a routine birth situation. This will help them spot unexpected charges.
Ask What the Charge is for
Request an itemized billing statement whenever possible. This will divide the charges into categories that are clearer. If a fee is charged for a specific item or treatment, the parents can make sure it was needed.
Know What is Customary in Your Area
Research the typical birth costs in the area, so the parents can compare charges. Prices may vary significantly among different areas and hospitals.
Propose Payment Plan
If the charges are absolutely higher than typical for the area, ask about repayment options, negotiate terms, or even dispute the bill.
Birth is a Once in a Lifetime Experience
Many parents are shocked by the costs associated with a routine birth. But with an understanding of the insurance plans and a bit of research, parents can prepare for these expenses and navigate any that may come up unexpectedly. After all, as a once in a lifetime experience, birth should leave joy and future memories – not surprise medical bills.