Having a Baby without "Traditional" Health Insurance
3 years ago, Jarrod and I found ourselves self-employed, uninsured and pregnant with our 3rd child. We had a wonderful experience with the doctors and hospital in getting top of the line care while being able to negotiate our bills to a "cash" discount and by 20 weeks prenatal, have my care and delivery paid for out of our savings. Although we were very blessed to do this at the time, we also had a very cut and dry pregnancy and delivery which only cost about $6,000.
Then shortly after that we found ourselves riding in the back of an ambulance with our 4 year old son, who had just been thrown off a golf cart onto the street and had a severe head injury. At that moment, "How much is this going to cost?" is the last question going through your mind. Once again, the hospital was extremely understanding. Working with us in every possible way to negotiate our bills and set us up on a payment plan. To this day, I pay $50 a month to that hospital and joke to our little Evan that his college fund will be slightly diminished because of it. :-)
I know what it's like to be a mom and have to think twice about whether to take your child to the doctor. I know that the constant worry of an accident or injury can take its toll. Its not fun to have to consider what your options would be or what you could have to spend in a split second if something were to happen. No amount of savings or planning can prepare for some incidents without insurance.
When we moved back to Ohio and found out that our jobs did not offer health insurance, we were once again forced to start looking at plans as individuals. And again, being astounded at the outrageous cost of insurance - almost $700 a month - with no maternity coverage - for my family of 5. Especially being that all of us are incredibly healthy.
That's when my parents recommended we look into Samaritan Ministries. Samaritan is a Christian organization that uses the principal of helping each other cover medical expenses. You still pay in monthly payments only you send your "share" directly to a family that has a need - along with a sweet note of encouragement. Our families plan runs $355 a month - and includes maternity coverage.
So how does it work? Basically, you still pay as a "cash" patient. And because of cutting out the middle man, insurance company, you have the ability to negotiate your bills up to 75% off. The average is typically a 40% discount.
When we found out we were pregnant with Owen, I immediately called my doctor and asked if they offered a special package for pre and postnatal care. They did. $2700 for the 9 months of care, 2 ultrasounds, the delivery, and the postnatal checkup. The hospital wasn't quite as cut and dry as our previous experience but still told us there would be about a 40% discount when billed after delivery.
At 20 weeks, when our ultrasound revealed a 2 vessel cord, we had no idea the bills that would pile up. Between the monthly ultrasounds, level 2 ultrasounds, biweekly non-stress tests, ECHO testing, and delivery itself, we managed to rack up about $45,000 in medical bills.
Now please don't think that I haven't been overwhelmed by this. $45,000 in anything is a LOT of money. And even being actively participating in payment plans and negotiations, it is very easy to get lost in the paperwork. So last night, I submitted our final bills to Samaritan for reimbursement. It was such a good feeling knowing that not only had we been able to treat our baby with the best treatment possible without having to "worry" about the cost, but we were also able to get those $45,000 in bills down to almost $13,000 by doing a little bit of work and playing the insurance company.
The other amazing blessing was all of the people who sent their "shares" to us. The people who wrote notes of encouragement, who assured us they were praying for our sweet baby during the pregnancy and those who are now celebrating with us at the birth of our healthy baby boy. It is so amazing to feel a part of a community of people who care. Who have pulled together to "bear one another's burdens" in time of need.
So if anyone needs help or has questions please feel free to email me! I shared because I wanted to help someone like someone helped me.
Posted by Casey Hanks