Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Why We Paid For The Birth of Our Child Up Front
I found the West Houston Birth Center early on, even before I found my job, and it just so happens to be less than a mile away from my office. I received my first positive pregnancy test one week after my official hire date. Yeah, I planned that. We were lucky/fertile/whatever you want to call it, and we had NO trouble at all conceiving.
Once I received my first positive pregnancy test (at only a few weeks pregnant, no less!), I decided that I needed to call the insurance company to find out what was covered with my brand, spankin' new benefits. But first, I called the birth center first and asked them how much it would be with insurance. They told me $5,000 with insurance, or $4,000 without. No problemo. I had insurance–I was totally covered... right?! Welp, as you can imagine, insurance wasn't too pleased when I asked about midwives.
"This isn't the 1800s! Midwives don't deliver babies anymore," exclaimed the woman on the phone from the insurance company. "Excuse me?" I asked. WTF was she talking about?! I already had a midwife and birthing center picked out where they would physically be delivering my baby. The insurance company provided me with a list of 19 midwives who WERE actually covered, but upon calling every single one of them, I learned that yes, they would handle my prenatal care. When it came time for the big show, however, a doctor would then swoop in and deliver. What?!?!?
Why would I want to build a relationship with a midwife or group of midwives throughout my pregnancy only to have a doctor that I didn't know swoop in and take all of the glory at the end? That didn't make sense to me. They told me they would only cover a midwife under the direct supervision of a doctor. OK. So, I decided to say, thanks, but no thanks! And I signed a contract with the birth center instead. Without insurance. Now, luckily, we had saved up money that was designated for a down payment/closing costs on a house, but this was obviously an immediate necessity that I needed. So we paid the contract in full up front and received a gracious 10% discount for doing so.
And you know what? Insurance magically started sending my birth center a check for the claims they were dutifully submitting. Stunned, they contacted me, (and I almost fell out of a chair!), but I was appreciative. I have absolutely NO idea why, but they are covering my birth and delivery as "out of network" at 60% instead of the 80% they would pay if I was delivering in an "in-network" hospital. So that's awesome! Since insurance is paying, I am obligated to the $4,500 contract (since I saved the 10% by paying in full). I'm totally cool with that, because you know what? We saved up for this and paid it in full. And we'll probably get a reimbursement once all is said and done.
I write this post because I want you to know that you should NEVER give up on WHATEVER birth that you want. Be it at home in a birthing pool or in a hospital bed. Fight for what you feel is comfortable to you and the best birth you can imagine. Ask questions and challenge anyone who says you don't have the right to your own birth story.
Kelsey is a passionate vegan living in Houston, Texas, spreading the word about the benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. She's also a minimalist enthusiast, a self-proclaimed financial guru of her household, and founder of The Little Red Journal.