So among the many things about the American healthcare system that bother me is that there is no way to actually properly financially prepare for anything. You can't know the price of having a baby, for example, because there are so many people involved with individual fees.
Here's what we knew we could expect:
Doctor's fee (prenatal care and delivery): $2100
Hospital stay, 48 hours: $4900 (less if we only stay 24 hours, but if we're preparing, we may as well prepare for the most possible)
Epidural: $2000 (estimate)
So that is what we were looking at. About $9000 IF I get an epidural. About $7000 without. (NOW can you see why it's actually an issue of money to get one or not? It's not like it's a $2000-decision. It's a $2000-MORE-than-what-we're-already-paying decision.)
Only one thing that neither of us had accounted for were other costs that are not included in this. And these are things that you don't expect, necessarily, because no one has told you about them, and no one informs you, "By the way, we're going to do this and it's going to cost you $XXX.XX." They just do it and send you the bill.
Murray called me VERY concerned this week to inform me that we got a bill from Lab Corp for lab work that matched up with the date of my first visit to the doctor. Yes, I remember that they took blood. And yes, I remember that at my most recent visit to the doctor, she told me that all my work came back looking good; everything was positive that was supposed to be positive, and everything was negative that was supposed to be negative.
What Murray was most concerned about was an item on the bill called "Chlamydia Amplification." This cost $131.50. Now for someone who is one hundred percent sure his wife doesn't have any STDs, I'm sure this item came as an absolute shocker for Murray, because why does Chlamydia need to be amplified if you don't have it?? Of course I don't have it, and I explained to Murray that I'm sure this is a test that legally HAS to be done so that STDs don't get transmitted to babies. But still. It does suck to have to pay $131.50 for someone to test you for Chlamydia, which you've done a really good job of avoiding your whole life.
Anyway, the total bill was $616.70.
At my next doctor's appointment, we will have our ultrasound. For that to be done at our doctor's office, we will receive a bill from the ultrasound technician (anywhere between $220 and $400). The ultrasound tech will then send the ultrasound to a center that will view it and study it and send the results to my doctor. And send me a bill for who knows how much. Who knows, because when does anyone ever inform you of how much you can expect to pay, or even ask your permission?
Then there will be other things to expect (but not actually know how much they will cost). Like getting tested for Gestational Diabetes. I am pretty sure it's a separate charge, and guess what. That orange soda is about $60 a bottle. Not kidding. If I come out positive after the first test, I'm not going to ask for a follow-up test where I can spend another $60 on soda. In fact, I'm really just tempted to ask if I can mix my OWN sugar drink with the needed amount of sugar and substitute it for the soda. Let's face it. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be GDS positive again.
(Oh, and by the way, to manage my GDS myself, I will test my blood 4-6 times a day for the last three months of my pregnancy. The test strips cost $1 each, and since this is related to my pregnancy, I don't know that my insurance will help with any of that cost. So I might expect my GDS self-management to cost an extra $300-$400. That's AFTER I got permission from my doctor to manage it myself and forego the biweekly visits to the Diabetes Management Clinic.)
Another thing. I will have to get a shot because my blood is rH negative. How much does that cost?
What about the hospital stay itself? Yes, I know how much the hospital charges for me to stay there. But what tests are done at the hospital that they charge me for separately? How much are they going to charge me for a Tylenol? What are the extra costs that one might incur while staying at the hospital (that again, you're not informed of as they happen; you're only sent the bill afterwards and you realize that that Q-tip cost you $8).
So it's really frustrating. I hope to get together with a friend soon who had a baby last year and also went to my doctor, and paid for everything in cash. I think she's pretty financially organized and I hope that she's got a folder of all her expenses so that I can add it up and get an idea of what we might have to pay for the baby.
Because we have NO CLUE and I think that a system where you can't actually properly financially prepare for service SUCKS.
(And just to let you know so that I don't start getting anonymous donations in the mail, we've saved lots of money and we do have Aflac that will kick in a little help, and we are 100% confident that we have the money to cover everything [and if there are expensive complications, then my insurance will kick in]. It's not that I'm worried that we don't know if we can afford it, it's just that it's frustrating not actually knowing how much something like this will cost us.)
(And just to be clear as well, as a reminder, if you are self employed in Utah there is NO MATERNITY COVERAGE AVAILABLE in any healthcare plan. It's not that we're in this mess because we chose a bad plan. We're in this mess because we chose to start our own business and make our own way in the world.)
(That's why I like to travel lots, so that I can take advantage of the perks of self employment as often as possible to remind myself that I really do actually prefer this.)