|The cost of that priceless bundle of joy|
|Monday, February 04, 2013 11:08 AM|
PUTNAM COUNTY — For many couples, the next step after marriage is having a baby. The happiness of that little bundle of joy is priceless but there are a few things to know regarding funds when they expect to be expecting.
From the day parents begin to try having a baby, their doctor may ask the mother to begin supplements or vitamins based on her health or the health of the baby. For example, many doctors recommend an iron supplement to help fight anemia and with iron, a mother may consider a Vitamin C tablet to help their body absorb the iron. As the list of supplements grows, this can be an additional cost many parents may not have thought about. An iron tablet on average can cost between $5 to $15 for over-the-counter options.
The first doctor’s appointment can be nerve-racking and maybe a little scary, but if parents are not insured, it can be a frightening financially as well. Diagnostic testing, such as an ultrasound, as well as the first appointment, on average cost about $2,000 out of pocket. This is why it is important for parents to see if they are insured and what expenses the insurance will cover.
Greg Brown with Nationwide Insurance in Ottawa advised, “Make sure you know the right questions to ask your insurance company before you plan to get pregnant. Some health insurance plans will cover the pregnancy and delivery but others do not, and it’s really something you should ask.”
Then comes the baby clothes. Buying clothes for a new baby can be exciting and fun but can also break the personal bank. Shopping can also become overwhelming for a first-time parent. Don’t go overboard on baby luxuries, stick with the must-haves like diapers, wipes, a car seat, a crib, changing table, a few baby clothes and baby monitors.
Expectant mother Renee Neidert was surprised at the cost of her pregnancy.
“As far as money goes, I was very shocked at how much ‘baby essentials’ cost. From the very beginning, when buying the pregnancy tests, to preparing for the baby’s arrival, to the cost of everything after they are born - it is all expensive. The cost for a crib is at least $250 and the bedding is right around $100. I am also amazed at how much car seats are. The cost seems pretty unfair because everyone needs a car seat,” she said.
A baby shower may also be an option to help offset the costs of all the new baby items parents may need, and there are also other routes they can check into.
“I was surprised at how many support options there are for parents,” said Neidert. “At my first doctor’s appointment, I was given a lot of handouts letting me know about different preventative testing that is available, about what kind of medicine is safe and which ones are not during pregnancy, and a week by week calendar informing us of our baby’s growth. There are also a lot of classes given by the hospital to help both first time parents and parents who have children already. There are even classes for kids who are about to become first time siblings. It’s very comforting knowing that no matter what my question or concern is, there is always someone willing to answer.”
Another way to offset the cost of baby items is to accept hand-me-downs. Of course, parents must ensure they are in good condition for the baby but accepting them can save hundreds of dollars.
“I haven’t purchased much clothing at all. I didn’t have to buy a bath or a highchair. I have back-up bedding, and a second car seat for my husband’s car. With just those few items, I have saved a ton of money. Also, really think about what you and your baby will need versus what you want or what is cute. Take advice from mothers who have ‘been there and done that.’ You will find out there are a lot of products you think you need, to only find out that you don’t need them at all,” said Neidert. “Coming from a first-time mother going into this blindly, I registered for anything and everything possible. Afterwards, I made my mom and my sister (who has a child) look over the registry. Apparently, I scanned in items (most of them costly) that no one would ever need.”
The cost of childbirth can also be steep. According to government data, the average delivery costs range between $9,000 and $15,000. Women who have individual health insurance policies often have to activate maternity care coverage nine-plus months before pregnancies.
“You should ask your health insurance company is if when you should activate your maternal coverage as well as if the delivery is covered. Another thing some people may not know is most insurance plans do not cover a private room at the hospital. Check with the hospital before your due date and coordinate the room you are needing for insurance company,” said Brown.
Questions to ask:
Does my insurance cover the pregnancy and delivery?
Do I need to have a maternal policy before getting pregnant?
What may change on my insurance policy after my baby is born?
Will the health insurance plan cover a private room at the hospital?